Fulham Boss Martin Jol Rolls the Dice with Adel Taarabt Deal
Taarabt is no stranger to Jol, as it was the Dutchman who brought the gifted forward to England in 2007 while in charge of Tottenham.
Jol exited White Hart Lane before getting the chance to get the best out of Taarabt. He will hope for better this time round.
The Daily Mail’s John Drayton quotes Jol:
I like his creativity. Sometimes it comes off when he scores a lot of goals and I think he was involved in 40 goals (during QPR's 2010/11 Championship promotion season).
It is like Dimitar Berbatov - sometimes these fantastic talents will be blamed, but I hope to find a way to gel him in together with the boys we've got.
I think he can do a hell of a job for us because he is a tremendous player on the ball.
The mention of Berbatov and Taarabt in the same sentence should both excite and strike fear into Fulham fans in equal measure.
Berbatov was far and away Fulham’s most potent attacking threat last term. He scored 15 Premier League goals and had three assists to his name. Bryan Ruiz was next best with five goals.
Jol had to make changes in the summer as Fulham won only one of their final eight games and came dangerously close to being sucked into the relegation fight.
The Fulham boss has stuck his neck on the line by moving to strengthen his attacking options, to make his side a more viable threat in the final third. In Taarabt, Berbatov and Ruiz, he certainly has gifted, attack-minded players at his disposal.
But the real fear is that by accommodating the attacking triumvirate, and with the prospect of Darren Bent arriving from Aston Villa as well, via David Hytner of The Guardian, Jol will leave his side somewhat exposed.
This is a fear expressed by B/R's Charles Lawley.
Berbatov and Taarabt? Martin Jol is a Yakubu away from having a side that works less on a weekend than the Hammersmith and City line.— Charles Lawley (@CharlesLawley) August 7, 2013
A talent as sublime as Berbatov’s can be accommodated, but to also bring in Taarabt, who has been criticised for his approach and being less than committed, could pile pressure on a defence that leaked 16 goals in the final nine games of the campaign.
Such numbers suggested Jol had to make changes. He has also added defenders Sascha Riether and Fernando Amorebieta to his ranks, but it is the move to bring in Taarabt that could have the biggest bearing on their season.
Taarabt has yet to convince in the Premier League, despite showing flashes of brilliance. If he can show the sort of form that once saw him touted as a £10 million player, according to Jol, then he could help propel Fulham to a comfortable finish.
However, should he fail to contribute going forward and imbalance the team, the Cottagers could be in for an extremely tough campaign.
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