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Joe Bryan is in his second season at Craven Cottage.
The Bristol-born Bryan left his hometown club in the summer of 2018 to join then Premier League side Fulham. He made 28 appearances in what was his debut in the top-flight last season, but couldn’t help his side from an inevitable relegation.
Dropping back down to the Championship, where Bryan has proven himself in the past, he was expected to be a hugely important player for Scott Parker this season.
Having played in all but two of Fulham’s league games so far, the 26-year-old has certainly been a mainstay in Parker’s Fulham side, and an important one too – he’s set-up seven goals in the Championship so far this season, the majority of them being scored by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
But what might the future hold for the left-back? Last January he was a rumoured target of Watford’s. Nigel Pearson’s side were and still are fighting Premier League relegation, and were sniffing around Bryan in January with a £10 million move being touted.
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Then Southampton joined the race. The Saints have been in search of a left-back since time began and they turned their search onto Bryan soon after Watford did so – at the same time, Serie A side Atalanta also emerged as candidates to land Bryan.
Whilst Southampton have stabilised their season in the top-flight, Watford continue to slip up, despite sitting outside the drop-zone on goal-difference.
Bryan would be a welcome addition to either side – he showed last season that he can take on the Premier League and whilst he may not have had an outstanding season back in the Championship, he remains a player of top-quality, and one with a point to prove in the Premier League.
The moves never materialised past a rumour in January, but if Bryan continues to impress from now up until the end of the season – whenever that may be – then surely the suitors will reignite their interest upon the opening of the next transfer window.
There’s a sense around Fulham as well that if they fail to achieve promotion this season, a few of their star players might move on and trigger a chain reaction of outgoings at Craven Cottage in the summer.