The mighty £25m signing Fulham will replace Aleksander Mitrovic with - according to Football Manager
Where could Fulham turn after the departure of their star striker? La Liga, according to Football Manager 2023
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The Serbian striker was a firm favourite with the Cottagers supporters after plundering his way to 111 goals and 22 assists in 206 appearances during a five-year stay at Craven Cottage. However, with Mitrovic now a thing of the past, thoughts are now turning towards his successor in the lead forward role in Marco Silva’s starting eleven.
So, with the help of the world’s most popular football management simulation, we see how Football Manager 2023 believes the Cottagers will fare in the absence of their former striker as the virtual Silva heads to La Liga to find his new striker.
Villarreal star Gerard Moreno was persuaded to swap life aboard the Yellow Submarine for a move to the Premier League as Silva saw off competition from Aston Villa, Everton and Manchester United to land the 17-times capped Spain international in a £25million deal - and he didn’t take long to make an impact.
A debut from the bench - but goals and starts soon followed
After finding the net on four occasions in pre-season, Moreno had to be content with a place on the bench as the Cottagers got their season underway with a promising 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. However, the Spain star was named in Silva’s starting line-up for the first home game of the season as Everton visited Craven Cottage and he rewarded his new manager with the only goal of the game.
Surprisingly, Fulham only lost one of their opening 13 Premier League games with Moreno on four occasions. Their momentum was somewhat stunted by the fact they also only won three of those fixtures as they became the draw specialists with nine draws. The highlights for Moreno were the winning goal in a 2-1 home victory against west London rivals Chelsea and a dramatic late strike that have his side all three points at Aston Villa.
A slump in form for Moreno and his side
As October turns to November, Moreno’s attempts to continue making an impact were hindered by a groin injury he suffered in a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United. During his month-long absence both Raul Jiminez and Carlos Vinicius found the net but they were unable to inspire their side to a win as the Cottagers emerged pointless from away days at West Ham, Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers as well as home games with Manchester City and Brentford.
That run of form took Fulham on to the verge of a relegation battle by the time Moreno recovered to regain his place in Silva’s side ahead of a Boxing Day visit to Brighton and Hove Albion.
New year, new promise
Boosted by the return of their £25m man, Fulham enjoyed an upturn in form as Moreno netted in an FA Cup third round win at Championship club Preston North End and a fourth round win at Premier League rivals Nottingham Forest. The striker also scored as Spurs were condemned to a 3-2 defeat in a league game at Craven Cottage and February began with another goal in another 3-2 win as Everton were beaten on their home patch.
Toffees revenge but an unbeaten run saves the season
After watching on from the bench as Fulham made their way into the FA Cup quarter-final with a win at Blackburn Rovers, Moreno found the net in successive league games as his side battled their way to a share of the spoils in draws with Liverpool and Brighton. However, his goal in the FA Cup quarter-final was not enough to send his side into the last four as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at Everton just weeks after beating the Toffees at Goodison Park.
With relegation concerns lingering over them as the final six weeks of the season approached, Moreno hit form with a brace in a 5-0 hammering of Bournemouth and single strikes in wins against Brentford, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest that took the Cottagers into the safety of mid-table.
A promising first season in West London was rounded off by an late equaliser against Manchester City and a goal in a 2-2 final day draw with Arsenal. That meant Moreno ended the campaign with 18 goals and two assists in 36 appearances in all competitions.