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Can big-spending Fulham stay in the Premier League?

Fulham have certainly made a strong statement of intent with their summer transfer activity, aiming to ensure that life back amongst the big boys will not leave them battered and bruised, after four seasons outside the top tier of English football. Promotion from the Championship last season was both hard-earned and deserved but, after a frugal approach to the 2017-18 campaign that bore fruit, the Khan family have decided to invest heavily as they aim to keep the club in the Premier League.

"We knew we had to make a serious investment with the squad to be the strong Premier League team we aspired to be," Tony Khan told Telegraph Sport ahead of the new season, in his multi-faceted capacity as Vice Chairman, Director of Football Operations, General Manager and Sporting Director. During the summer, the son of Fulham's owner, Shahid Khan, oversaw a net spend of over £100 million on new signings, making them the third-highest spending club behind Liverpool and Chelsea.

Craven Cottage
Image Source: @FulhamFC via Twitter

No fewer than eight transfer signings were completed after the start of July, plus five additional arrivals on loan for the 2018-19 season, with five deals being finalised on transfer deadline day. Having cast their scouting net far and wide since winning promotion, both at home and abroad, three of the summer signings have also surpassed previous transfer records at the club.

Central midfielder Jean Michael Seri cost £18 million from French side Nice, followed by the £22 million capture Aleksandar Mitrovic from Newcastle United, in a club-record deal that could potentially rise to £27 million for the Serbian striker. Meanwhile, according to data, Cameroon midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa arrived from Marseille for a cost of just under £22 million from Marseille, once the exchange from Euros to Pounds is taken into account.

Certainly, a huge effort has been made to ensure that Craven Cottage will be hosting Premier League football for many years to come but, inevitably, surviving the first season back in the top flight will be the toughest challenge for manager Slavisa Jokanovic and his expensively assembled squad of players. Whether they can rise to the challenge and meet the pressure of expectation, remains to be seen.

Fulham fans
Image Source: @FulhamFC via Twitter

According to bookmakers, Premier League relegation odds at 2/1 places Fulham firmly amongst the favourites to go down, despite such a big spending summer to ensure that doesn't happen. Nevertheless, losing their opening game of the 2018-19 campaign at home to Crystal Palace, another side tipped for a difficult season, is hardly the most inspiring start for the Cottagers.

Despite such a disappointing opening weekend back in the English top flight, it's fair to say that the numerous new arrivals will still need some time to bed in at the club. However, given how notoriously unforgiving life is in the Premier League, this team of new signings will need to gel quickly and become a cohesive unit, whilst also learning valuable lessons from every match they play, if they're to avoid becoming embroiled in a relegation battle towards the back end of the season.

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