Why Fulham must permanently sign Matt Targett
The left-back spent the second half of the 2017/18 campaign on loan at Fulham and played a significant role in Slavisa Jokanovic’s side gaining promotion back to the top-flight.
Targett, 22, made 21 appearances for the Cottagers, who now want to sign him permanently as they return to the top-flight after a four-year absence. However, Southampton have rejected Fulham’s £10m bid for Targett as Saints manager Mark Hughes sees the defender as an important part of his future plans.
But should Fulham come up with an improved offer for Targett?
Absolutely. Fulham need a left-back ahead of the new season as they struggled in that position at times last season until the January window. The London club signed Rafa Soares last summer but the Portuguese full-back didn’t fit into the Jokanovic’s style of play and it wasn’t until the arrival of Targett in January that the problem was solved.
Now back in the Premier League, Jokanovic should go all out to make the necessary additions to his squad in the summer. So, the Serbian manager must try to bring Targett back to Craven Cottage after an impressive loan spell last term.
Targett came through the youth ranks at Southampton but struggled to break into the first-team due to Ryan Bertrand being the club’s first-choice left-back. Lack of game time understandably saw the left-back leave the club on loan in January.
And Targett’s addition proved to be very useful for the Cottagers as his presence at left-back pushed Ryan Sessegnon into a more attacking position from where he made valuable contributions in the final third. Targett’s pragmatic approach allowed Sessegnon more freedom to express himself on the left side of midfield, thereby releasing him of the defensive duties.
Targett showcased many qualities in his short loan-spell with Fulham. He is defensively diligent but he is also good when it comes to putting crosses into the box. The 22-year-old seamlessly slotted into Jokanovic’s style of play as he offered both defensive solidity and attacking flair.
The Southampton loanee’s presence brought a sense of stability and balance to Fulham’s defence, while his interchange with Sessegnon on the left caused problems to several Championship sides.
Jokanovic must strive hard to keep the core of his last season’s squad intact. Targett was an important cog in the Fulham side last term, and at 22, his best years are yet to come. A move to Craven Cottage would be the ideal step for his development, and therefore, Fulham must make an offer for the left-back which Southampton cannot rebuff.