Championship outfit Fulham are interested in a move for Bolton Wanderers wide man Dapo Afolayan, as per a report from The Bolton News.
The 24-year-old has endured an impressive season in the third tier after making his loan move from West Ham United a longer-term agreement, scoring 12 goals and recording six assists in 42 league appearances as a regular goal contributor for the Trotters.
What makes this record more impressive is the fact Ian Evatt’s men look destined for a mid-table finish, so to register this number of goal contributions as a winger in a side that aren’t pushing for promotion is certainly not to be sniffed at.
Only die-hard Fulham supporters will get at least 20/25 on this higher or lower quiz
This is why the Cottagers are justified to take an interest in the ex-Hammer because his form in League One has been nothing short of superb and although he’s a little older, he could easily become the next Brennan Johnson who impressed in the third tier last term before taking the step up this term.
Johnson’s success with Nottingham Forest this season has been well-documented and he could take a further step up to the Premier League this summer, with or without his current side with Brentford thought to have submitted a sizeable bid for his services back in January.
This could be a warning to Marco Silva’s side not to turn their nose up at Afolayan this summer just because of the division he plies his trade in – but they should resist any move now with top-tier experience needing to be the priority when recruiting players in the coming months.
They have come too far this season with their dominance of the second tier and their formidable attacking record to be relegated straight back down to the Championship again at the end of next season.
To give themselves the very best chance of remaining afloat at the highest level, they need to recruit those who have played regularly at the highest level before and unfortunately for the Bolton winger, he never got a sufficient chance to shine for his former side West Ham.
He may be a real threat in the third tier – but to recruit him at this stage would be a gamble – especially with the Cottagers already needing to replace Fabio Carvalho with the teenager’s move to Anfield all but sealed.
A focus on the bigger picture is usually positive for a football club – but Silva’s men desperately need to look at the short term and make sure their summer recruitment is right to then give themselves a chance of remaining in the top tier for the long term.
If they manage to be comfortable in the top flight for an extended period of time like three or four seasons, then will be the time when they can start to take gambles on those in lower divisions. Making the most of their budget with seasoned top-tier players has to be the route they go down during the next few windows though.