Fulham’s start to the new Championship season has been far from ideal. No wins from their first four matches has left them 19th in the table ahead of their trip to Ipswich Town on Saturday, but some positive news has emerged from Craven Cottage on Tuesday morning. The Whites have reportedly beaten two major European clubs to land the loan signing of Porto’s talented defender Rafa Soares.
The 22-year-old left-back has represented Portugal at every youth level and accrued nine under-21 caps. The signing could signal Slaviša Jokanović’s plans to play Ryan Sessegnon in a more advanced role on the left wing, with Soares behind him. Soares spent last season on loan at Rio Ave, making 32 appearances and scoring three goals in the Primeira Liga.
“I’m very happy,” Soares told FulhamFC.com. “I came here to help the club achieve its goals this season and I hope to experience a lot and do a good job. I have ambitions to improve myself too, and help the Club to have a good season.
“I had other options, other clubs were interested in me, but the way Fulham acted, I was decisive that I wanted to come here, and I think it’s the right time to be here.
“Fulham has a reputation of a Premier League club and this season I want to help put the club back in the place it belongs.”
Soares is currently nursing an ankle injury but will begin training in early September. Fulham take on Bristol Rovers in the Football League Cup Second round on Tuesday evening, and are expected to field a similarly youthful side to the one that knocked Portsmouth out on penalties in the previous round.
The west London side won 12 of their last 19 Championship matches before losing to Reading semi-final play-off, so hopes were high that Jokanovic would guide them to a strong start. Unfortunately that has not been the case thus far, but a win against Ipswich at the weekend would be a fine result. Mick McCarthy’s side were tipped for relegation by some pundits but the Tractor Boys have a 100% winning record!