Tom Cairney grabbed a lot of headlines last season.

The Fulham midfielder making a lot of people’s Championship’s team of the season as he inspired Fulham into the promotion play-offs.

Cairney’s 13 goals and 10 assists were the key factor in that success but the Premier League proved elusive as they lost to Reading in the play-off semi-finals.

Throughout much of last season Newcastle were linked to Tom Cairney and indeed it was claimed there was an approach to buy him, only for Fulham to reportedly put them off by attaching a £20m valuation.

The summer saw more links claiming Newcastle were trying to sign the 26 year old midfielder but nothing happened, little surprise when it turned out Rafa Benitez was only allowed an £11.5m spend in the transfer window.

This season hasn’t been quite so good for Fulham or Tom Cairney, they are only 15th and nearer the bottom than the top, 12 points above 24th and 21 off Wolves at the top, even the play-offs are currently nine points away.

For Cairney, injury has interrupted the season and he has started only nine of twenty league games, scoring just one goal and getting no assists.

Despite this, in an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, the player says he loves playing at Fulham and ‘That is what I want to do’.

The midfielder adds ‘It’s a massive accolade that Rafa Benitez wants me.’

This does make it sound as though Newcastle have expressed genuine interest at some point(s) and not just the player responding to newspaper talk.

Not many fans would bet on Newcastle signing any player for £20m whilst Mike Ashley is still here and likewise, it would be very difficult/impossible to imagine any real valuation of Tom Cairney being close to that figure on what he has achieved so far.

Much as Cairney (pictured above scoring against Newcastle last season) says he wants to stop at Craven Cottage, if Newcastle did put a bid in and Fulham wanted to sell, then it becomes a different ball game. If the Cottagers continue to struggle and look to be heading nowhere when we get to January, then who knows.

Tom Cairney speaking to the Evening Standard:

“I love playing football here (at Fulham).

“That is what I want to do.

“I feel a responsibility to Fulham. It’s been great ever since I arrived.

“I enjoy playing football, I really enjoy playing it at the Cottage and long may it continue.

“It’s a massive accolade that Rafa Benitez wants me.

“It’s a pat on the back to myself I guess, to know that other managers appreciate what I’m doing.

“You can’t put a price on happiness.

“Last season I was extremely happy on and off the pitch and that’s when you play your best football.

“I wanted to show my happiness to the fans, let them know that I want to be here and try to take Fulham forward.”