Premier League • England

Fulham capture of Arsenal, West Ham stars held up by same problem, though Kevin Mbabu transfer takes shape

Wolfsburg right-back Kevin Mbabu

Fulham are close to wrapping up a deal to sign Kevin Mbabu, though their pursuits of stars from Arsenal and West Ham have hit the same hurdle, per a report.

The Cottagers are hoping to break their yo-yo trend of promotion and relegation. To do so, Marco Silva wants to make up for a slow start in the window and sign a series of upgrades including many who are Premier League-proven.

Two such names are Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno and Hammers centre-back Issa Diop.

Arsenal are reportedly demanding £15m for the stopper who was quickly displaced by Aaron Ramsdale last season.

The German could even be third choice following Matt Turner’s arrival, meaning an exit this summer looks inevitable.

Fulham are in talks with their London counterparts, though according to Sky Sports, a difference in opinion on the player’s valuation is holding up a deal.

Sky don’t declare at what figure Fulham rate Leno. However, reports from Germany earlier in July indicated a figure of around £10m was thought to be sufficient.

The issue of a gap in respective valuations is also blighting their efforts to sign West Ham’s Issa Diop.

The centre-back, 25, could be the odd man out under David Moyes following the £30m arrival of Nayef Aguerd.

Sky add West Ham want £20m for the Frenchman – a figure Fulham are yet to come close enough to.

Kevin Mbabu on the way

In more positive news for Fulham fans, Sky claimed right-back Kevin Mbabu is close to agreeing a move.

The Wolfsburg defender may be a familiar name to those in the north east after spending four years on Newcastle’s books between 2013-17.

Mbabu has since excelled in both the Swiss and German leagues with Young Boys and Wolfsburg respectively. The report states a fee in the region of £6m-£7m could soon be agreed and personal terms won’t be a problem.

Fulham weakness must be addressed

The Cottagers were lethal in the final third last year, notching 106 goals in just 46 matches.

However, to avoid relegation at the first time of asking once again, the common consensus among Fulham fans is their rearguard must be addressed.

Mbabu would be a step in the right direction at right-back and he is also capable of playing as a wing-back if required.

Leno is proven between the sticks and can count himself a tad unfortunate to be out of favour at the Emirates.

Diop too is Premier League-proven and would represent an upgrade on anything Silva has at his disposal at centre-half.

Fulham recently shipped five goals to Benfica in their latest pre-season friendly on Sunday night. Silva fielded a strong eleven for the contest and it may be a blessing in disguise that their defensive frailties were exposed with six weeks still left to run in the market.