While Tom Cairney and Tim Ream may have committed to Fulham by signing contract extensions, question marks remain over team-mate Tosin Adarabioyo’s long-term future.
Since joining from Manchester City in 2020, the stylish centre-half has become an integral part of Marco Silva’s side, helping the team’s successful transition from record-breaking Championship title winners into a legitimate Premier League outfit.
Yet while Cairney and Ream have taken the club to their hearts with new deals that will see the pair complete a decade of service, it feels Tosin has never really called Craven Cottage his home.
The club’s continued contract overtures have fallen on deaf ears with Tosin now able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club this month or become a free agent in the summer.
It leaves Fulham with little to no option but to try to offload the 26-year-old for the best possible price during this January transfer window – a tough task but not impossible with a number of potential suitors circling.
From a Fulham perspective, Tosin isn’t irreplaceable either – his continued absence at the start of the season following groin surgery seeing a number of team-mates and defensive combinations step-up admirably in his place.
Issa Diop and Ream began the campaign as the first-choice centre-back pairing before summer signing Calvin Bassey replaced Diop following a foot injury.
And it was only after the recent injury to Ream that Tosin returned to the starting line-up, coinciding with the side’s best results of the season with consecutive 5-0 victories over Nottingham Forest and West Ham United.
However, these were followed by three heavy and disappointing defeats to Newcastle, AFC Bournemouth and struggling Burnley before the impressive 2-1 win over Arsenal.
While Tosin’s on-field commitment and performances cannot be questioned, nor can the player be blamed directly for any of the defeats, there is an old adage that a happy dressing room makes for a happy team.
The key to this is ensuring every player is fully onboard with the club and manager’s vision with this long, drawn out transfer saga suggesting Tosin is struggling to buy into it and now sees his future elsewhere.
Much of Silva’s success at Fulham has been down to his ability to galvanise a club into a harmonious unit with Tosin’s attitude also being previously questioned by veteran team-mate Ream.
Speaking on the The American Dream Podcast, Ream said: “He’s really laid back actually. A very confident individual.
“Actually when he first came in I wasn’t appreciative of him because I thought he was an arrogant little young kid, which to be fair, he was and I tell him as much.
“But now that I know him, he’s a great guy, someone I’ve really enjoyed playing with.”
While a little bit of confidence goes a long way in football, should there not be an amicable parting of the ways, there’s the potential of the club-player relationship turning sour as they both look to a future without each other.
And if Tosin did leave this month, the imminent return of Ream from injury will offset any short-term damage with the defensive combination of Diop and Bassey expected to be the preferred long-term partnership.
Nevertheless, should Fulham still feel the need to strengthen in this window, they are a more than enticing attraction with little threat of Premier League relegation, a favourable FA Cup Third Round draw and a first ever League Cup semi-final appearance to look forward to.
With these games in mind, Tosin’s contract situation is an unwelcome distraction with the main frustration being how the player and his agent has been able to run his contract down to such an extent they now have the upper hand in negotiations.
It’s a shame to see a player become convinced he can better his career away from Craven Cottage but if anything can be learned from the situation it is the ability for Fulham to be able to cut their losses sooner and move on.