Craven Cottage continues to be a hub of activity this summer as the wheeling and dealing from the Khan family continues.
Already with seven signings this transfer window, Fulham has gone out and reportedly grabbed another. According to reports in both Spain and England, the Whites have grabbed Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico on loan. Upon completion, Rico would be Fulham’s eighth signing of the summer and second goalkeeper inked this window. The signing is being reported by both AS in Spain and Sky Sports in England, among others.
The move is a slightly odd one. Fulham shelled out $5 million to sign Besiktas netminder Fabri, but the 30-year-old Spaniard has been shaky in his preseason appearances.
Considering Fabri’s weak start in White, this move seems to suggest that the club was pushed by one of two possible factors: either Fabri’s poor start was so alarming to the club that they felt obligated to make immediate amends, or incumbent starter Marcus Bettinelli is either injured or on his way out. 26-year-old Bettinelli, a former England U-21 international, was spectacular last season for Fulham in the Championship, snatching the starting job from David Button midway through the season and lost just two games of the 26 he started.
One would think, based on resumes, that Rico would come in and immediately become the starter. While Bettinelli is a local hero and a fan favorite, he doesn’t have the track record that Rico does despite his young age. The Spaniard has made 170 total appearances for Sevilla since joining the senior team from the youth squad as a 20-year-old in 2014. In addition, it’s possible Bettinelli is hurt, which may have triggered the transfer in the first place.
No matter the circumstances, the signing is a quality one for the Whites. Goalkeeper was one position that still felt shaky heading into the season, in part due to Fabri’s unconvincing preseason. Now, it becomes yet another squad strength. The Whites have had a busy summer, signing the likes of midfielder Jean-Michael Seri, winger Andre Schurrle, and defenders Alfie Mawson and Calum Chambers.
On the other side of things, the departure of Rico is an odd one for Sevilla. Rico lost his starting spot late last season to 25-year-old David Soria, but he has since left for Getafe. If Rico does indeed head out as well, it would leave just 29-year-old Thomas Vaclik as the only goalkeeper left on the senior team.