Fulham have no reason to regret the sale of Rui Fonte
The former Portuguese U21 international has finally sealed a return to his homeland with his former club Braga, signing a three-year deal before the closure of the transfer window following a loan stint at Lille in Ligue 1 the last term.
Fonte, who made his move to Craven Cottage from Braga back in the summer of 2017, featured on 27 occasions for the Cottagers in the Championship in the 2017-18 campaign.
He scored thrice and assisted a further couple to propel the West Londoners to a promotion-winning season under former boss Slavisa Jokanovic.
Those returns, however, weren’t apparently enough to convince the club hierarchy to give the versatile forward a crack of the whip in the Premier League, as Fonte found himself shipped out on loan to Lille for the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign.
The 29-year-old’s loan spell in France didn’t pay rich dividends, though, as the Portuguese star cut a rather peripheral figure in Christophe Galtier’s side that finished runners-up to champions PSG in Ligue 1 the last term.
Fonte managed only a single goal in 18 Ligue 1 appearances for Lille, which clearly isn’t much to write home about for any wide player.
The news regarding Fonte’s sale to Braga came just a few hours after Fulham’s thumping 4-0 victory over Millwall at home in the mid-week fixture.
A brace from Wolves loanee Ivan Cavaleiro and goals from Anthony Knockaert and Aleksandar Mitrovic ensured that Scott Parker’s side continued their promising start to the campaign with three back-to-back wins following a shock opening day defeat against newcomers Barnsley.
Earlier in the summer, Fulham bagged some real coups in the transfer market before the August deadline, with the Cottagers strengthening their squad with the acquisition of Ivan Cavaleiro, Harrison Reed, Anthony Knockaert, Bobby Reid and Harry Arter on loan deals from various Premier League clubs.
As well as Fulham’s impressive start to the new season in the Championship following a major debacle in the Premier League the last term, the fans have every reason to be happy with the club’s transfer business this summer.
As opposed to the previous summer when they had forked out a fortune to enrich the squad with several high-profile signings, Fulham apparently adopted a much more cautious and measured approach in the market this term.
It is a no-brainer that Parker has managed to bring in significant reinforcements for virtually nothing, whilst the sale of teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon to Spurs has certainly boosted the club’s funds.
To put things into perspective, Fulham have done exceedingly well to keep hold of star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and a few other key players following their relegation from the Premier League and the departure of some of the fringe players before the end of the month shouldn’t bother them too much.
Rui Fonte was definitely in the bracket of deadwood at Craven Cottage and despite the 29-year-old’s professionalism and amiable character, he hardly seemed to have a future in West London.
The Portuguese star had failed to live up to the expectations at Fulham following his move from Braga back in 2017, having struggled to get to grips with the gruelling physicality of the Championship and failing to acclimatise to the club’s structure and setup.
Fonte barely made an impression in English football and move back to his homeland is likely to favour the resurrection of his faltering career.
With the likes of Mitrovic, Reid, Cavaleiro, Knockaert and Aboubakar Kamara all in the attacking ranks at the club, Fonte would have found himself way down the pecking order under Parker this season and the fans hardly have any reason to regret his departure.
Truth be told, the Cottagers needed to balance their books by getting rid of the deadwood this summer and the sale of the 29-year-old out-of-favour star can be regarded as a step in the right direction.
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That said, Fulham are certainly better off without the lacklustre Portuguese attacker in their squad.