Why Fulham should consider signing Harrison Reed on a permanent deal
It has been a topsy-turvy tale for Fulham thus far in the Championship and the Cottagers are yet to hit the ground running in full force upon their return to the second tier.
The West Londoners have won just 3 out of their first 7 games in the Championship this term and a 1-1 draw against promotion-rivals West Brom meant that Scott Parker’s side finished Round 7 placed 11th in the standings, five points behind pace-setters Leeds United.
After sanctioning a few high-profile departures in the summer following their relegation from the Premier League, Fulham plugged the gaps with loan deals for proven Championship players like Harrison Reed, Harry Arter, Bobby Reid, Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert.
Parker’s mini squad overhaul, however, is yet to pay the dividends, with Fulham struggling to lay down an early marker as a promotion favourite in the Championship this season.
Agreed, there is still a lot of time left in the season but the Cottagers would need to pull up their socks sooner rather than later to try and stay within striking distance of an automatic promotion place.
Yet, there are some players who have impressed early in the campaign. Ivan Cavaleiro has scored and assisted three apiece in the league thus far, Mitrovic has already found the net on 5 occasions in 7 outings, Knockaert has also hit the ground running and Harrison Reed was the latest addition to that list on Saturday.
Fulham failed to make the most of their territorial dominance against the Baggies but Parker will be happy with some of the individual performances, with Reed bagging the man-of-the-match award for his superb all-round display at the weekend.
The Southampton loanee, who only played a couple of cameos off the bench in Fulham’s league victories over Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers last month, has found himself in the thick of things in the last two outings against Cardiff City and West Brom.
The 24-year-old was an influential presence in a holding midfield role in Parker’s 4-3-3 system and his effective shielding of the backline allowed others like Bobby Reid and Tom Cairney to venture forward and wreak havoc through the opposition’s defence.
Reed registered a total of 44 passes at an accuracy rate of 95.5, including 4 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 clearances, 2 dribbles, 9 ball recoveries and 2 key passes, one of which was a through ball to Cairney that almost led to a goal.
The former England U-20 international, who is on his third loan spell in the Championship after productive stints at Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers, might have struggled to cement a regular starting role at Southampton but he has already proven his credentials as a tough-tackling versatile utility player in the middle of the park with a good eye for goal.
To put things into perspective, Fulham should consider a permanent deal for Harrison Reed later on in the season of the 24-year-old continues his rich vein of form in the Championship.
He is certainly good enough to start every week in the second-tier and, although he hasn’t had too many opportunities in the Premier League in the recent past, Fulham can afford to look at him as a utility squad player in the top-flight next term if they manage to secure promotion.
Reed is way down the pecking order at Southampton and with his contract at St.Mary’s set to expire next summer, the Saints could be willing to do business if Fulham put up a modest offer on the table.
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With that in mind, Fulham going forward with a permanent deal for Harrison Reed apparently makes perfect sense for parties involved, although that might depend on how the 24-year-old goes about things in the latter stages of the campaign when the race for promotion goes down to the wire.