Newcastle United have regularly been linked with Tom Cairney this past season and the events of Tuesday night appear to have opened up the possibility of the midfielder being tempted away from Craven Cottage.
Defeat to Reading in the play-off semi-final means no Premier League football for Fulham or their star midfielder next season, unless he moves on…
Newcastle were reported to have been quoted £20m when making an approach in January as Fulham were desperate to keep hold of their star asset as they went for a late promotion bid. However, in March it was claimed that a more realistic fee of around £12m could be accepted by the West London club if they failed to go up.
In the aftermath of last nights defeat, the Fulham boss gave out a defiant message as the likes of Newcastle United circle for players such as Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon.
“I expect our best players are going to stay with us, that is the information I have from the board.
“We are talking about our most important players, they are going to stay with us.
“Next season will be complicated and we will push to be promoted – we must be clever in the period in front of us.
“It depends on the summer and right now, it depends if we bring in what we need.
“We believe we can be promoted (next season) and it’s clear we need to improve our team and squad and still be more competitive in the season in front.”
With 13 goals and 10 assists this season, it is clear the quality Tom Cairney has shown, with Newcastle experiencing it first hand as he ran the show at St James Park and scored a cracking long range effort that set the Cottagers on their way to the eventual 3-1 victory.
Apart from a handful of games as a 19 year old for Hull City, the midfielder has played all of his football outside of the Premier League.
Despite the Fulham Manager’s defiant words on Tuesday night, the reality is that Tom Cairney turns 27 in January and if he is offered Premier League football this summer, can he really afford to turn down an opportunity that may not present itself again.
Also, for Fulham, whilst any club wants to keep hold of their best players, the reality is that with the strict FFP rules (they broke them by overspending and were then punished with a transfer embargo in January 2016) the only realistic way that they can add significantly to their squad is by selling the likes of Cairney and Sessegnon.
They could potentially bank £30m or more for the pair and that would allow the Cottagers to strengthen across their squad ahead of next season.