The Times of London reports that Fulham have been offered the chance to sign Christian Poulsen, the 29-year-old Danish defensive midfielder from Juventus, following the player rejecting a Â£6 million move to Fenerbache.
The Juve midfielder has had a poor season in Italy where he failed to establish himself in the heart of the Bianconeriâ€™s midfield. He joined the club in a â‚¬9.5 million move from Sevilla on a 4-year contract but last season he only made 23 appearances which included a miserly 14 starts.
It is of no surprise that the Danish midfielder is being hawked around by the Italian club as his transfer was opposed from day one by the Juventus Ultras. Before the beginning of last season the fans hung a banner proclaiming Poulsen as â€œrubbishâ€ at a pre-season training camp at Pinzolo.
This animosity arose from two well-documented Italian incidents in which Poulsen was left with the reputation as a dirty footballer who possessed no discernible calcio skills.
The first flare-up involved the darling of Roman football, Fransesco Totti. Following a match in the 2004 European Championship Totti was caught on camera spiting at Poulsen for which he was handed a 3-match ban. Totti later apologised for his actions but claimed that he had been kicked and provoked by the Dane.
The second incident occurred whilst Poulsen was a Schalke player in the 2004-2005 Champions League. He was strongly criticised by the Milan players for his aggressive tackling and Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti called him a “coward” for his rough marking of Kaka and accused the player of kicking his playmaker when the officialâ€™s backs were turned. (Highlights of Poulsen vs Kaka can be seen here.)
Other disciplinary incidents include stamping on Jermaine Jenasâ€™ head in the UEFA Cup and punching Swedenâ€™s Marcus Rosenberg in the stomach in a Euro 2008 qualifying match. The Dane was red carded leading to a Danish supporter running onto the pitch and attacking the referee, who then abandoned the game.
Unsurprisingly yellow and red cards have become synonymous with Poulsen. In 111 League appearances in the Bundesliga, he received 34 yellow and 4 red cards. In Spain he also received 18 yellow cards in 62 League appearances.
With Roy Hodgson placing a premium on defensive qualities Poulsen will add steel to any midfield and protect the back four with all his life. Technically he is poor and his heading is weak although he possesses a tremendous work-rate and the ability to get in opposing players faces thereby frustrating the flow of possession.
The Dane also brings a winning mentality with him. He’s collected a league title in Denmark, the German League Cup, the European Super Cup, the UEFA Cup and the Copa Del Rey. He has also been named Danish Player of the Year twice in 2005 and 2006.
Valued at â‚¬6 million he is may be a worthwhile purchase for the Cottagers. Hodgson has shown that he knows how to work the transfer market after somehow prising Â£5 million from Hull for Bobby Zamora. He may feel that a born winner like this is too good an opportunity to turn down. One sticking point may be his wages, at Juventus he was one of the best paid players at the club.
Video evidence of Poulsen’s misdemeanours can be seen here.
In addition, reports are widespread this Monday that Fulham have signed winger Bjorn Helge Riise from Lillestrom for a fee believed to be around Â£1.5m. Brother of Roma’s John Arne, Bjorn is a right-sided midfield player, he can also play through the middle.
Video evidence of Bjorn Helge Riise can be seen here.