Former assistant director of football and data analyst Craig Kline has revealed that Fulham had targeted N’golo Kante whilst the club were in the Championship but failed to proceed with the transfer due to the club’s policy.
Kline would explain that Fulham’s policy in the Championship was based heavily around the character of the player as well as statistical analysis and scouting.
The former Fulham backroom member revealed that many of the Fulham staff didn’t want to sign players of a certain mould as they didn’t have the right attitude for the Championship.
Kline explained that many of Fulham’s staff blamed ‘Spanish players’ for the club’s demise and relegation from the Premier League
“They were all saying Spanish players and southern Europeans in general weren’t tough enough for the Championship.
“And there was so much ignorance that the players they were using as examples were, for one, not only some of Fulham’s best players but they weren’t even Spanish. They were saying, Hugo Rodallega and Bryan Ruiz had ruined Fulham, of course Rodallega is Colombian and Ruiz is from Costa Rica.
“Fair play to them they also said Fernando Amorebieta, who represents Venezuela but was born in Spain.”
Fulham seemingly had a very character-based transfer policy after the club was relegated to the second tier with Kline saying that Mike Rigg only wanted to sign north-western European players as they were the only ones tough enough for the Championship.
“Mike also explained that South American’s are overly emotional, using his experience with Carlos Tevez at Man City as an example.” Kline said
The American would go on to explain how players were removed as transfer targets in this meeting due to their character types, including a certain N’golo Kante.
Kante would go on to become PFA Player of the year, winning two Premier Leagues and a World Cup. Kline also explained how other top players were transfer targets for Fulham but the club never actively pursued their signature due to the policy in place.
“We ended up removing about 16 different players from this list, due to these reasons. These included Grimaldo, Raphael Guerreiro and N’golo Kante, not that any of these players were set to come in but we didn’t do due diligence on them other than the data and the scouting.” Kline explained.
Is this the biggest blunder Fulham ever made as a football club?