Fulham are preparing for their Premier League return by closing in on the signing of Thomas Strakosha from Lazio, according to a reporter.
After suffering relegation last season, Fulham have bounced straight back up. They won the Championship by finishing two points ahead of runners-up Bournemouth. But after their most recent two stays in the top flight only lasted one season, they will need to make plans to consolidate their status.
It will be an important summer in terms of transfers for the Cottagers. One position they want to strengthen is in goal.
In that regard, they have been showing an interest in a deal for Alphonse Areola. The Frenchman is currently on loan at West Ham United from Paris Saint-Germain. Prior to that, he spent the season with Fulham last time they were in the Premier League.
Areola’s struggles to displace Lukasz Fabianski as West Ham’s number one has prompted a belief at Fulham that they could lure him back. However, it is still looking like the PSG man will join the Hammers permanently.
Therefore, Fulham have had to adjust their plans. But they have done so quickly and are now closing in on an intriguing signing.
According to transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio, Fulham are closing in on the acquisition of Albanian goalkeeper Strakosha.
His contract with Lazio is about to expire after six seasons in Serie A. As such, Fulham have been free to negotiate a deal with him in view of the new season.
Now, they are said to have agreed terms over a four-year contract. Only the smaller final details remain for the 27-year-old to become a Fulham player.
It would be the Greek-born goalie’s first experience of club football outside Italy. Other than Lazio, his only previous club was Salernitana, during a loan spell earlier in his career.
But the Premier League could soon beckon for the shot-stopper, who has kept 62 clean sheets in 207 Lazio appearances.
Strakosha a decent Areola alternative
If Fulham are to miss out on Areola after all, then Strakosha should be a good alternative.
The fact he would arrive on a free transfer would be beneficial. It may allow Fulham to allocate transfer funds elsewhere to give themselves the best chance of staying up this time.
Strakosha’s star has faded a bit over the past couple of seasons. He was once Lazio’s outright number one but has had to share duties with Pepe Reina this season.
To get back on track, Strakosha needs a fresh start elsewhere, which he is guaranteed of as he enters free agency.
But he might not be without a club for too long if Fulham can wrap up the deal. It could be the first important step of a summer that will set them up for a survival attempt.