Alfie Mawson

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Fulham defender Mawson undergoes knee surgery after bizarre injury

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Fulham owns the worst defensive record in the Premier League, and while things have improved under new manager Claudio Ranieri, the club now has to navigate an injury to its best center-back that occurred in bizarre fashion.

Alfie Mawson, who joined this summer in one of the more infamous spending sprees in Premier League history, was withdrawn at halftime of the 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town just before the new year. At the time, Ranieri offered little information on the injury other than it was a knee problem and that he wasn’t sure how long Mawson would be out.

In his pre-match press conference ahead of Fulham’s home match against Tottenham at Craven Cottage this weekend, Ranieri finally opened up on Mawson’s injury, revealing exactly how the defender was struck down…doing one of the most mundane daily tasks a professional soccer player can participate in.

“It was a very strange injury,” Ranieri said. “He changed his boots. It was unbelievable.”

That’s right, London-born defender was injured lacing up new kicks.

Ranieri didn’t offer much more, failing to specify the extent of the injury or even what knee was hurt. Mawson missed the start of the Premier League season as he recovered from offseason knee surgery, but Ranieri did not say whether the new problem was present in the same area. “I don’t know if it was the same knee or the other,” Ranieri said. “It was a very strange injury.”

It’s been a rough season for Mawson, who was inadvertently punched in the face by his own goalkeeper Sergio Rico just two matches earlier, down in a heap and tended to by trainers in a lengthy delay, although he was able to continue and complete the full 90 minutes. The 25-year-old struggled to find a place in the team early in the season as he adapted to his new squad, but eventually found his way into the starting lineup consistently and even became Fulham’s most consistent defender despite the club’s Premier League-leading 49 goals conceded this season.

In addition to Mawson’s ridiculous injury, Fulham has also dealt with turmoil surrounding Aboubakar Kamara, who has clashed with teammates on the field of late. He stole a penalty off designated penalty-taker Aleksandar Mitrovic in the Huddersfield match and proceeded to miss – which drove Ranieri to claim “I wanted to kill him” after the match – and then was involved in an on-field argument with Mitrovic in the 4-1 loss to Arsenal last weekend. Kamara was dropped from the squad for the most recent match against Burnley, and is reportedly set for another game on the sideline this weekend.

The season has been a wild and weird one for Fulham, which fell 2-1 to Burnley last time out on a pair of own-goals despite Burnley failing to record a single shot on target of its own. The club sits 19th in the Premier League table, five points back of safety.

Fulham captures another in Swansea defender Mawson

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One of the most active Premier League teams in the 2018 summer transfer window strikes again.

Fulham has announced the signing of young Swansea City defender Alfie Mawson for an undisclosed fee reported to be about $19 million. The 23-year-old has not been called up to the England international squad but is considered to be in the fold over the past few years, having made appearances for the England U-21 squad in the past.

[ MORE: Thursday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

Mawson, who came through the Brentford youth system before moving to Swansea City two summers ago, made 65 league appearances for Swansea over the past two years, including last season when he played every minute of all 38 Premier League games for the Swans who were relegated with an 18th placed finish.

“I’m really happy to get this over the line and join Fulham,” Mawson said in the official club release. “I’m excited by the project going on here and the football being played last season was lovely on the eye but also effective and I can’t wait to be a part of it and get going. ”

We’re still not sure how they didn’t go with the hashtag #Mawsome, but we’ll let it slide. This time.

“I’m pleased to announce that Fulham Football Club has signed Alfie Mawson!” said recruitment chair Tony Khan, son of owner Shahid Khan. “Alfie is an exciting young player with a strong future at a position of major importance to our club. Alfie is also very highly regarded by our scouting department and our data analysts, giving us great confidence in our back line as we prepare long term for Premier League competition.”

With Tony Khan at the helm, the Cottagers have spent a surprising amount of money this summer, but have also been praised for their intelligent buys. They broke their transfer record to bring in midfield passing wizard Jean-Michael Seri from French club Nice, with top clubs such as AC Milan on his heels. They secured striker Aleksandar Mitrovic on a permanent basis for a hefty fee, and brought in former Chelsea attacker Andre Schurrle in on a two-year loan, almost unheard of for a player in his prime.

The Whites may not be done, either. They’re rumored to be after a left-back – with no one natural in that position currently on the roster – in particular Southampton’s Matt Targett who impressed last season on loan with Fulham and has had a solid preseason.

Fulham set to sign Swansea’s $26M Mawson

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Fulham is ready to spend big to add Premier League experience to its back line.

Alfie Mawson is the name, and the 24-year-old did his best to keep Swansea City in the top flight last season.

[ VIDEO: USWNT equalizes in stoppage ]

Mawson took some time to adjust to the league after arriving from Barnsley in 2016, with some rough performances under Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley.

But he found his form as Swans beat the drop in 2017, and then had a fine season at both ends of the pitch in 2017-18. He’s scored six goals since the calendar hit 2017.

Mawson could pair with USMNT center back Tim Ream, who signed a new deal at Craven Cottage this summer.

The move calls to mind a cheaper buy from a relegated club that certainly paid dividends: Leicester’s purchase of Harry Maguire from Hull City.

Rumors: Fulham spree continues with links to Mawson, Herrera, Battaglia

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Newly promoted Fulham has already shelled out nearly $50 million this summer as the Whites look to secure Premier League status in the season following promotion via the Championship playoff, but they show no signs of slowing down.

The Whites, led by recruitment chair Tony Khan, have been linked to a host of new players on Friday, including a Mexican international.

Midfielder Hector Herrera, who played every minute of Mexico’s 2018 World Cup adventure, has been linked with a move to London. According to Portuguese outlet Record, in a report which has since been corroborated by The Sun in England, Fulham is chasing the 28-year-old Mexican who currently plays for Portuguese giants FC Porto. The reports state Herrera has a release clause of nearly $46 million, but that the proposed transfer fee would likely fall well short of that.

[ MORE: Friday transfer rumor roundup ]

Herrera has made 70 appearances for the Mexican international team, a mainstay over the last four years since debuting as a regular in the 2014 World Cup. He has been with Porto since the summer of 2013 when he arrived from Liga MX side Pachuca, making 192 appearances for Porto. He would join new signing Jean-Michael Seri in the Fulham midfield, alongside incumbent starters Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen, the former of which signed a new contract with Fulham on Friday.

Also making the rounds in Portugal is the rumor of contact with Sporting CP midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia. Record, along with a few of the TV channels in Portugal, is reporting that Battaglia has seen his Sporting contract successfully nullified following the locker room attack that has reportedly left many players wanting out. Should that be the case, it would mean Battaglia would be able to sign with any team on a free transfer.

The 27-year-old has yet to make an appearance for the Argentinian national team but was considered unlucky not to make the 2018 World Cup squad under Jorge Sampaoli. Known as a true defensive midfielder with bruising capabilities and a decent eye for distribution, Battaglia made 33 Liga NOS appearances for Porto last season after joining in the summer from fellow Portuguese club Braga. However, reports later on Friday have since suggested there may remain the possibility for Battaglia to work out a new contract at Sporting.

Another connection made to Craven Cottage has been Swansea City defender Alfie Mawson, according to WalesOnline. The Fulham back line is currently thin, with United States international Tim Ream leading the way. Still just 24 years old, Mawson has been with Swansea since 2016, joining from Barnsley and making 65 career Premier League appearances. While Swansea’s defensive record has been relatively solid over the past few years, it was their attack that floundered in their relegation season last campaign.

On the verge of sniffing the national team, Mawson has been reportedly chased by a number of mid-table Premier League sides such as Burnley and West Ham, and with the Whites looking to bolster the back line, this would seem to be sensible, quoted at around $26 million, a sizeable but sensible investment towards a youthful English defender.

Also notable remains the constant links to Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian international was stellar on loan in the second half of last season at Craven Cottage, pouring in 12 goals in 17 Championship appearances with Fulham in their successful push for promotion. With the other striker options thin in Slavisa Jokanovic’s possession-based system, Mitrovic seems a no-brainer for the Whites, but so far Newcastle has held firm on their valuation of around $26 million and forced Mitrovic to join the club on its preseason tour of Portugal even though Rafa Benitez has been public about his dislike for the Serbian striker. The Whites have to this point resisted that amount, but the links continue to swirl and the signing still seems to be a likely possibility.

Fulham has already broken its transfer record to bring Seri in, while also adding Borussia Dortmund winger Andre Schurrle on a two-year loan deal.

Allow England defender Alfie Mawson to charm you

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Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson is at England national team camp, and the young man is conducting himself in downright adorable fashion.

It seems the 24-year-old London defender cannot quite believe Gareth Southgate called his name for the Three Lions.

[ MORE: Key newcomers for USMNT friendly ]

“A lot of people wouldn’t have even heard my name until this call up,” Mawson told the BBC. “You know it’s down to performing well at certain times, it’s down to doing the right things and sometimes it’s down to being a nice person.”

Mawson has played every minute for Swans this season, picking up two goals and an assist. More importantly, he’s won 3.3 aerial battles per game and 6.3 clearances.

While this won’t necessarily serve him well against the Netherlands and Italy in this week’s friendlies — they don’t put a lot of hopeful balls into aerial or clearing positions — it’s kept Mawson on the England radar for this summer’s World Cup.

Mawson is two seasons removed from playing in the Championship, and was loaned to lower league clubs like Maidenhead United and Welling United. At the time, he was going to “car boot sales with my girlfriend” which from my limited Googling seems the English equivalent of a yard sale and flea market combined.

“We are in a good position now where we don’t really have to do the car boots unless she wants a bit of excitement on a Sunday morning.”

Pretty good position, yeah.