Football Features

Seven Fulham and Huddersfield players too good to go down – and the Premier League clubs they could join

By Steve Jennings

Published: 17:30, 15 March 2019 | Updated: 17:23, 29 September 2019

Time is clearly against Fulham and Huddersfield Town, the two sides currently propping up the rest of the Premier League.

The top-flight’s bottom two are 13 and 16 points adrift of survival respectively, and their fate will be sealed in no time at all unless they start winning games.

Alas, Fulham and Huddersfield will almost certainly be playing in the Championship next season. But that doesn’t mean all of their current players will be leaving the top-flight.

We’ve picked out four Fulham players and three Huddersfield players who could make an instant return to the Premier League and suggested the clubs that might be keen on signing them.


Terence Kongolo

Position: Centre-back/left-back
Club he should join: Newcastle United

After a successful loan spell in the second half of last season, Terence Kongolo made his move from Monaco to Huddersfield permanent last summer. He became the club’s record signing, costing a reported £17.5m plus add-ons.

This season has been a struggle for the entire Huddersfield defence. Kongolo started on the left of a back three but has played in a centre-back pairing lately, as well as stepping in at left-back when necessary. The change of manager and positional uncertainty has contributed to an inconsistent campaign for Kongolo, but he is still the player Huddersfield broke their transfer record to sign last June.

With that in mind, Newcastle United would be wise to take a punt. They could probably sign the Dutchman for less than Huddersfield paid, and his versatility makes him ideal for a team that has switched to a back three this term. Kongolo would be an ideal squad option, keeping the current centre-backs on their toes.

Aaron Mooy

Position: Central midfield
Club he should join: Leicester City

Aaron Mooy was the best player in the Championship when Huddersfield were promoted to the Premier League in 2016/17. He was also instrumental in helping the Terriers remain in the top-flight last season, and Huddersfield’s best moments this term have revolved around him – the Australian scored twice in a 2-0 win at Wolves, easily Town’s best result of the season.

Those remain Mooy’s only two goals in 2018/19, but he might have scored more had he not suffered a knee injury in December that kept him out for 10 games. That Mooy-less period ended up destroying Huddersfield’s survival hopes.

If Leicester are unable to complete a permanent deal for on-loan midfielder Youri Tielemans this summer, Mooy would be the ideal alternative. The 28-year-old will soon have just one year left on his contract – although there is a club option to extend by a year – so Huddersfield may be forced to sell the man who has created more chances per 90 league minutes (1.67) than any other Town player with over five appearances this season.

Philip Billing

Position: Central midfield
Club he should join: Everton

Philip Billing has certainly caught the eye of the statisticians this season. He has won more duels per 90 league minutes (8.69) than any other Huddersfield midfielder, while only Aaron Mooy has made more tackles per 90 (1.87 to Billing’s 1.8).

The Dane has sometimes been accused of not caring enough on the pitch, but that’s more a result of his ultra-composed gait than anything else. He clearly has a very high ceiling and there is a feeling he simply needs a move to fulfil his potential.

That’s where Everton could come in. It’s difficult to tell whether Billing could one day play for a top-six side – Tottenham have been linked in the past – so Everton would be an ideal next step for the 22-year-old to test himself at a higher, but not too high, level. Huddersfield’s relegation could make Billing an inexpensive option for an Everton side that needs reinforcements.

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Jean Michael Seri

Position: Central midfield
Club he should join: West Ham United

Having once come close to joining Barcelona, Jean Michael Seri’s arrival at Fulham looked like a real coup when the deal went through last summer. But because of Fulham’s struggles, it’s been difficult to tell whether Seri is a top-level midfielder forced to endure playing with sub-standard teammates, or he simply belongs at his current level.

Regardless, a Premier League side is likely to take a risk in the upcoming transfer window. Seri’s best moment for Fulham was a Goal of the Month-winning strike against Burnley way back in August. It was a sign of what the 27-year-old is capable of, though it remains his only goal for the Cottagers.

He may be tempted by the chance to stay in London if West Ham becomes an option. With Declan Rice protecting the back four, Seri would have more leeway to showcase his box-to-box attributes without the threat of relegation looming. The Ivorian has created more chances per 90 league minutes (2.34) than any other Fulham player this term, and West Ham could do with some creativity in midfield.

Ryan Sessegnon

Position: Left-back\winger
Club he should join: Tottenham Hotspur

Ryan Sessegnon was tipped to be the next big thing in English football before he even dipped his toes into the Premier League. That pressure may be playing a part in a difficult debut season in the top-flight for the talented teenager, who has been in and out of the team throughout the campaign.

With five assists in 27 appearances, though, he has been one of Fulham’s most productive players. Like Huddersfield’s Billing, there is obvious potential here and Sessegnon may have actually hindered his development by staying at Fulham, where he will have thought first-team football was a guarantee.

Perhaps he should have joined one of his suitors last summer. Spurs were said to be interested at the time and could be again come the end of the season. The 18-year-old’s price tag may have fallen after a difficult year, and Mauricio Pochettino will surely be eager to work with more young, English talent – it’s his speciality, after all.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Position: Striker
Club he should join: Crystal Palace

With one goal in every three games for a struggling side, Aleksandar Mitrovic has definitely done enough to earn a move back to the Premier League once Fulham’s fate is sealed. The Serbian was too good for the Championship during a loan spell at Craven Cottage in 2017/18 and should return to the top-flight this summer.

His 10 goals have ultimately separated Fulham and Huddersfield; the Londoners might have been bottom if not for Mitrovic. As a result, a number of mid-table Premier League clubs will be clambering to sign the 24-year-old at the end of the season.

Crystal Palace could be an appropriate destination. Christian Benteke’s dreadful goal return is likely to result in the Belgian’s departure, while there is no guarantee Michy Batshuayi will be signing on a permanent basis. If Palace can get deals done for Batshuayi and Mitrovic, their strike force will be the envy of the Premier League’s bottom half.

Tom Cairney

Position: Central midfield
Club he should join: Bournemouth

Tom Cairney was instrumental during Fulham’s promotion to the Premier League, captaining the side and scoring the winning goal in the play-off final against Aston Villa. Hopes were high for the midfielder going into his first top-flight season, but an early injury and the struggle for consistency has curtailed his progress.

At the end of the season, the 28-year-old will have a choice to make. Either he will stay with Fulham and attempt to lead them back to the Premier League, or he could fish around for top-flight takers – if, of course, there are any.

Clubs were surely keen on Cairney when he was lighting up the Championship, so a mid-table manager may take advantage of Fulham’s relegation by making a move this summer. Perhaps Eddie Howe will see Cairney’s technical ability as an astute addition to his squad. After all, no player has produced more passes ending in the final third (17.73) per 90 league minutes for Fulham this term.