Fulham boss Marco Silva believes a loan deal for Terence Kongolo would be a ‘very good solution’ at this stage as he continues to gain his fitness, as he spoke candidly about the Dutchman to The Athletic’s Peter Rutzler.
The 27-year-old has suffered a torrid time at Craven Cottage since his initial arrival back in January 2020, making just four senior appearances for the promotion chasers in total and failing to appear in a single matchday squad so far this season.
Spending the early stages of 2021/22 continuing his recovery from knee surgery, he has returned to training but has still been unable to force his way back into the first team in the English capital.
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In fairness to the Netherlands international, he has faced fierce competition with the likes of Tosin Adarabioyo, Tim Ream, Alfie Mawson and Michael Hector all available at Marco Silva’s disposal.
But with the talent he has, he would have been expecting to at least be in the matchday squad regularly but with Silva now admitting that he isn’t fit enough to be a regular part of his plans, it’s now time for the Cottagers to take a decision on his future.
His contract doesn’t expire until 2024 so the chances of offloading him permanently in the coming months look slim, but the second-tier side shouldn’t be looking to do that at this stage considering the potential and ability he has.
This is why a temporary move away makes sense at this stage despite some fans potentially wanting to retain him – because he isn’t the reliable figure they desperately need in their intense battle for automatic promotion.
And with Denis Odoi acting as Kenny Tete’s understudy as Cyrus Christie remains out of the first-team picture, a loan arrival of a central defender could be a wise option to shake up the defence and maximise performance levels, something that can only help in their quest to return to the Premier League.
In the meantime, the club can make a judgement on whether Kongolo has shown he can be reliable and fit enough during his loan spell away from Craven Cottage to potentially play in the top flight next term.
But right now, they cannot afford to rely on him with Covid cases still likely to cause havoc and injuries coming into play.
He may end up becoming a star in west London in the coming years – but he isn’t even fit enough to provide an alternative option to Adarabioyo and Ream right now – and this is why it’s time to say goodbye.
But only for now.