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Why Fulham’s £120million summer splurge means nothing yet

It’s normally the Premier League’s big boys who bring the Deadline Day fireworks.

But it was little old Fulham with the cottage by the river who made all the noise on Thursday, bringing an end to this summer’s transfer window with one hell of a bang.

After landing Jean Michael Seri earlier in the window – previously on Barcelona and Manchester United’s radar – alongside a number of others, including Arsenal’s Calum Chambers, £15million Alfie Mawson, World Cup winner Andre Schurrle and the returning Aleksandr Mitrovic, the Cottagers went for broke.

Europa League-winning goalkeeper Sergio Rico was the first man through the door, joining on loan from Sevilla.

He was quickly followed by left-back Joe Bryan, who snubbed Aston Villa to join permanently, before Luciano Vietto from Atletico Madrid also signed on a temporary basis.

Next to sign on loan was Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah, announced a whole two hours after the window had slammed shut at 5pm.

And then came the piece de resistance.

Shattering the club’s transfer record, Fulham signed Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, the highly-rated midfielder from Marseille, for £30million, taking the total spend to £118million.

It’s safe to say days like this don’t come around too often for Fulham.

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In the past transfer windows have been hell, and Deadline Days torturous.

Youth prospects – Chris Smalling, Patrick Roberts, Moussa Dembele and Emerson Hyndman – have been snatched before they’ve had a chance to spread their wings in a Fulham shirt.

Fan favourites – Louis Saha, Steed Malbranque, Sean Davis and Clint Dempsey – have signed for the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham.

And all the while underwhelming names have joined the ranks.

This summer’s transfer window was Fulham’s first back in the Premier League since relegation back on that faithful day at Stoke in 2014, under the (supposed) leadership of Felix Magath.

But crucially it was the first that has been overseen by the new chairman, Shahid Khan, led by his son, Tony.

Cottagers’ director Tony showed just how passionate and ambitious he and his family are about turning Fulham into a Premier League power house and that they’re more than willing to fund the journey.

It’s all very positive, and extremely foreign to a Fulham fan, despite getting a taste of what a few quid can do when Mohamed Al Fayed rescued the club from oblivion many moons ago.

But the hard work starts here.

Of course supporters are entitled to get excited and revel in the fact that the club has had the best transfer window in the league – not least for keeping hold of boy wonder Ryan Sessegnon – but it’s time now to make it count.

When the season gets underway against Crystal Palace on the weekend there could be a whole new back-four, and a new keeper between the sticks.

In midfield you might also see two new faces, while up front potentially another.

That’s a possible eight of eleven tasked with gelling in a heartbeat and playing Slavisa Jokanovic’s slick brand of football – with immediate results required.

It’s a tall order for any team in any league – Everton proved this to be true last season – least a club new to the top flight.

Never expecting, always believing is a mantra thrown around by Fulham fans, and it’s the reason an unspectacular group reached the Europa League final back in 2010.

It’s important that this message is remembered more than ever now, even if top teams are starting to take notice of the Cottagers’ business. Fulham mustn’t lose sight of its identity.

It’s too soon for the club to consider itself to be a Premier League mainstay; a ball is yet to be kicked and signings need time to adapt.

Unnecessary pressure placed on teams rarely ends well, even if a £120million spend-up warrants it. We’re still little old Fulham, you know? At least for now.

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