During manager Scott Parker’s pre-match press conference ahead of Fulham’s game against Cardiff, the caretaker manager struck an optimistic note when speaking about the club’s transfer policy.
Much discussion over the past weeks has focused on how many of the London club’s current players will remain at Craven Cottage next season in the Championship, with Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrovic recently linked with new deals.
But Parker discussed an unexpected contender to be at Fulham next season in the Championship: winger Ryan Babel.
The Dutch international joined on a six-month, short-term deal in January from Besiktas and has already won the admiration of the Fulham faithful.
In his first match against Tottenham Hotspur, the attacker terrorised the Spurs backline and nearly propelled the Whites to a positive result against the top-four side.
Since then, Babel has scored well-taken goals against West Ham United, Watford, and Everton, showing off his impressive pace and excellent finishing skills.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Parker said he understood that Babel will have offers on the table to depart SW6 this summer, but maintained he has been “fantastic” for Fulham.
“At the same time, Ryan Babel is a player who we like a lot. He’s been a massive part – certainly since I’ve been here – of what we’ve been doing,” Parker said.
“If there was an opportunity to sign a player of Ryan Babel’s calibre then he would be top of that list. But at the same time I also understand his situation.”
Keeping Babel in the second division would immediately bolster Fulham’s promotion credentials, as the former Liverpool man has the ability to star in the Championship.
Although the Cottagers face a battle to keep him at the club, his loyalty and enjoyment during his short stay in southwest London could convince the winger to stick with them for the 2019/20 season.