Fulham have completed the signing of Leeds United forward Ross McCormack for a momentous fee of £11 million, as reported by Sky Sports News:
Sky sources: Fulham agree £11m deal for Leeds striker Ross McCormack - full story on #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 8, 2014
The west London club, newly relegated from the Premier League, confirmed the deal on their official website without stating a concrete fee:
Fulham Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Ross McCormack from Leeds United for an undisclosed fee.
The Scotland international, last season’s top scorer in the Championship, has penned a four-year deal with the Whites, with the option of a further 12 months, potentially keeping him at the Club until the summer of 2019.
Is Ross McCormack worth £11 million?
McCormack posted a prolific season with Leeds last year, netting 28 goals during the club's struggle to 15th, per WhoScored.com. A reported £11 million fee appears rather sizeable for a player who has remained in the Championship across the last six years, previously representing Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League.
The former Doncaster Rovers loanee has represented Scotland 11 times, scoring twice, per Fulham's report. He made the PFA Championship Team of the Season during 2013-14 and was voted Leeds' Player of the Year, but he is yet to play a major role in his side, not winning silverware during a decade-long career.
At 27 years old, McCormack hasn't been brought in for his resell value. The lethal finisher is a proven entity in England's second tier and could help Fulham toward rewards that outweigh his price, noted by Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports:
Whilst McCormack is expensive, IMO it books Fulham a place in top-six at least and £11m is nothing compared to the prospect of Prem TV money— Graeme Bailey (@GraemeBailey) July 8, 2014
Other reactions have proven to be less optimistic. The weight of McCormack's fee is brought into perspective by Bailey, then rammed home by Paddy Power:
Fulham agree an £11million deal with Leeds for Ross McCormack, making him the most expensive Scottish player of all time.— Graeme Bailey (@GraemeBailey) July 8, 2014
£11m for Ross McCormack makes him the 8th most expensive British Striker in history.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 8, 2014
Paddy Power also reminded Fulham boss Felix Magath of quotes he made recently regarding Neymar:
Felix Magath... pic.twitter.com/DBMSHbNdOF— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 8, 2014
OptaJoe reminded naysayers about the player's productivity, signalling he could be quite the catch for Magath's side:
36 - Ross McCormack had a hand in more goals than any other player for their club in the 2013-14 Championship. Pricey pic.twitter.com/KMomJkKUZ9— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 8, 2014
Heading into next season, Fulham's strikeforce is set to be worth around £22 million after the club signed Kostas Mitroglou from Olympiakos in January, per BBC Sport. Summer signings Tim Hoogland, Adam Taggart, Kay Voser and Shaun Hutchinson add to a squad that is rapidly changing to Championship conditions; certainly a less glamorous division than the top flight.
Interestingly, McCormack's reported fee makes him Fulham's fourth most expensive player ever, reported by Transfermarkt. He comes in ahead of top-quality players including Edwin Van der Sar, Mousa Dembele and Dimitar Berbatov, but he sits behind Steve Marlet, Mitroglou and Andy Johnson.
McCormack was the subject of Premier League interest throughout January, with Cardiff seeking a return for their former player and West Ham aiming to tie up a deal, per Sky Sports. The Scot admitted he wishes to play in the elite league "as soon as possible," but will now have to wait at least a year to finally make this ambition come true.
It is perhaps ironic that McCormack finally moves to a Premier League-standard club after their relegation, but Magath's signing places down a marker for rival clubs in the Championship.
The stern boss has effectively let his opposition know Fulham are willing to lure talent away at top dollar and have the capacity to spend big to secure a route back into the upper echelons of English football.