Rumors: Fulham spree continues with links to Mawson, Herrera, Battaglia
Newly promoted Fulham has already shelled out nearly $50 million this summer as the Whites look to secure Premier League status in the season following promotion via the Championship playoff, but they show no signs of slowing down.
The Whites, led by recruitment chair Tony Khan, have been linked to a host of new players on Friday, including a Mexican international.
Midfielder Hector Herrera, who played every minute of Mexico’s 2018 World Cup adventure, has been linked with a move to London. According to Portuguese outlet Record, in a report which has since been corroborated by The Sun in England, Fulham is chasing the 28-year-old Mexican who currently plays for Portuguese giants FC Porto. The reports state Herrera has a release clause of nearly $46 million, but that the proposed transfer fee would likely fall well short of that.
[ MORE: Friday transfer rumor roundup ]
Herrera has made 70 appearances for the Mexican international team, a mainstay over the last four years since debuting as a regular in the 2014 World Cup. He has been with Porto since the summer of 2013 when he arrived from Liga MX side Pachuca, making 192 appearances for Porto. He would join new signing Jean-Michael Seri in the Fulham midfield, alongside incumbent starters Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen, the former of which signed a new contract with Fulham on Friday.
Also making the rounds in Portugal is the rumor of contact with Sporting CP midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia. Record, along with a few of the TV channels in Portugal, is reporting that Battaglia has seen his Sporting contract successfully nullified following the locker room attack that has reportedly left many players wanting out. Should that be the case, it would mean Battaglia would be able to sign with any team on a free transfer.
The 27-year-old has yet to make an appearance for the Argentinian national team but was considered unlucky not to make the 2018 World Cup squad under Jorge Sampaoli. Known as a true defensive midfielder with bruising capabilities and a decent eye for distribution, Battaglia made 33 Liga NOS appearances for Porto last season after joining in the summer from fellow Portuguese club Braga. However, reports later on Friday have since suggested there may remain the possibility for Battaglia to work out a new contract at Sporting.
Another connection made to Craven Cottage has been Swansea City defender Alfie Mawson, according to WalesOnline. The Fulham back line is currently thin, with United States international Tim Ream leading the way. Still just 24 years old, Mawson has been with Swansea since 2016, joining from Barnsley and making 65 career Premier League appearances. While Swansea’s defensive record has been relatively solid over the past few years, it was their attack that floundered in their relegation season last campaign.
On the verge of sniffing the national team, Mawson has been reportedly chased by a number of mid-table Premier League sides such as Burnley and West Ham, and with the Whites looking to bolster the back line, this would seem to be sensible, quoted at around $26 million, a sizeable but sensible investment towards a youthful English defender.
Also notable remains the constant links to Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian international was stellar on loan in the second half of last season at Craven Cottage, pouring in 12 goals in 17 Championship appearances with Fulham in their successful push for promotion. With the other striker options thin in Slavisa Jokanovic’s possession-based system, Mitrovic seems a no-brainer for the Whites, but so far Newcastle has held firm on their valuation of around $26 million and forced Mitrovic to join the club on its preseason tour of Portugal even though Rafa Benitez has been public about his dislike for the Serbian striker. The Whites have to this point resisted that amount, but the links continue to swirl and the signing still seems to be a likely possibility.
Fulham has already broken its transfer record to bring Seri in, while also adding Borussia Dortmund winger Andre Schurrle on a two-year loan deal.