Fulham’s Super Signing
It’s early June and it only feels like yesterday that Sir Alex Ferguson lifted Manchester Utd’s 20th English league title, but the transfer window is already in full swing. There have already been huge signings, such as Neymar to Barcelona and Falcao to Monaco but one of the smaller transfers of the window so far might just be one of the best.
On the 5th June 2013 Dutch goal keeper Maarten Stekelenburg was signed by Fulham as a replacement for their ageing Australian shot stopper Mark Schwarzer. The signing was a huge surprise and a brilliant buy from the Cottagers; Stekelenburg has played Champions League football for Ajax and Roma as well as having 54 caps for his country. Not only this but the 30 year old has played at two major tournaments for the Dutch and featured in the 2010 World Cup Final, where he was unlucky to lose 1-0 to Spain.
Starting out as a youngster as part of the famous Ajax academy, Stekelenburg spent the first 11 years of his career playing in Amsterdam making 191 appearances for the club. The relatively unknown keeper really announced himself to the world at the 2010 World Cup where he more can capably filled the boots of Dutch legend Edwin van der Sar. Upon Holland’s route to the final, Stekelenburg was consistently delivering in goal and opening the eyes of many scouts. Despite losing the tournament’s pinnacle game, he once again made a string of break taking saves, notably from a 1-on-1 with Cesc Fabregas.
It was such an exemplary tournament for his national team, that finally earned him a big European move to Italian giants AS Roma. Despite two successful seasons in Rome which saw him come second in Serie A’s golden glove competition, the Dutch man felt unsettled in Italy. Due to his difficulty to adjust to Italian football, Fulham won a dramatic transfer race to make sure he would be wearing their shirt next season.
So, with Fulham signing experienced shot stopper Maarten Stekelenburg as well as Venezuelan centre back Amorebeita, what other bargains can the Premiership’s middle table teams pick out?
By Kobe, YJA Sports Correspondent