Starting in January, Newcastle have been regularly linked with Tom Cairney.
As a club looking nailed on to be promoted, little surprise to see the Magpies linked with one of the second tier’s better performers last season.
There were even claims that Rafa Benitez had approached Fulham in the January 2017 transfer window but that the Cottagers had quoted £20m to ensure they would keep one of their best players for a promotion push. Newcastle United reportedly backed off immediately on hearing that £20m figure.
With Rafa Benitez in the end not allowed to bring in any players in January, even on loan, it was always dubious as to just how strong any interest/approach actually was for Tom Cairney.
That promotion push did get Fulham into the play-offs but fell at the play-off semi-final hurdle to Reading.
However, Monday has seen reports claiming that it is/was Newcastle offering £20m.
The Chronicle quote Slavisa Jokanovic speaking to Serbian media, though they don’t say what the specific source was.
The Chronicle stating that the Fulham Manager said:
“Yes, he (Tom Cairney) is good.
“He (Rafa Benitez) asked for him and they offered £20million but we did not let him go.
“He is not for Newcastle, there is no business there, he fits in at Fulham.
“When the team has problems the ball always goes to him and he keeps it.”
Trying to sort out what is truth or not is a tricky one but whatever the Fulham Manager has actually said, it is very difficult to believe that Newcastle actually offered £20m, if anything.
Yes he has done well in the Championship but on Saturday we saw just how poor Scotland are, especially in midfield, and Tom Cairney has never played any competitive football for his country, only making one friendly appearance. He was an unused sub against England.
With 13 goals and 10 assists this past Championship season, it is clear that Tom Cairney has shown some quality, 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 though as a 19 year old for Hull City, the midfielder has played all of his football outside of the Premier League.
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 Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon.
If Newcastle, or any club, were interested and offered £10m or more then that would surely be enough to land the player, yes prices are getting crazy but Cairney has shown nothing as yet to justify a £20m transfer fee.
After losing in the play-offs Slavisa Jokanovic said this back in May:
“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.”