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Eddie Johnson to Fulham is NOT dead


When Fulham acquired Watford striker Marlon King on Thursday for a 5 million pound transfer fee, it was believed that the move signaled the end if Eddie Johnson’s chances of signing with the London club.

That is apparently not the case.

According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Johnson-to-Fulham deal is still on and the hold-up now centers around Johnson’s ability to secure a work permit. Johnson has played in 72 percent of the U.S. national team’s official matches during the past two years, just short of the 75 percent required to secure a work permit.

Johnson is set to meet with a work permit tribunal on Wednesday to attempt to secure the permit. If he does, Fulham is expected to add him to a forward crop that includes King, Clint Dempsey and a recovering Brian McBride.

What do you think of this news? Surprised that Fulham would still want Johnson? Surprise that Johnson still wants to go? Thinking about how Bruce Arena’s decision not to put Eddie Johnson in the Italy World Cup match could now cost Johnson a move to England?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. A lot of these negative comments sound like the ones spewed about Freddy.

    I think EJ can be a killer sub. He has talent, he just needs to be a role player before he can blossom.

    Let me know what crow tastes like.

  2. Joel:
    The way the 75% thing works is this — in order for a player who does not hold an EU passport to get a work permit to play in the UK at any level, they must play for a national team in IIRC the top 70 of the FIFA rankings (the U.S. qualifies for this easily) and they must have appeared in 75% of that team’s matches in official competitions (i.e. the Gold Cup, World Cup qualifying, and World Cup) over the past two years.

    If the player does not meet that standard, then they must go through an appeal process to get a work permit. There are varied ways in which a player may be granted the work permit on appeal; Tim Howard’s came because he was the third goalkeeper behind two keepers who were starting in the EPL, Benny’s and Clint’s came because both were near 75% and argued successfully that they were trending upward in appearances.

  3. CJ,

    I wouldnt read too much into these comments. EJ is a pretty polarizing figure in US Soccer circles. Loads of people love him and then there are some that hate him. He’s already got the physicality to make it in the Premiership, which dooms many players before they start. If he can finally get some good coaching and work out the mental side of his game, he’ll definitely be a good signing for you. He reminds me a bit of Darren Bent (while he was at Charlton and actually got to play that is).

  4. I think Fulham has a good chance to turn things around the rest of the season with or without ej who still drives me crazy to see in a nat uniform. With the team becoming healthier they just might start playing some exciting ball again.

    I believe Jimmy is back in mid field and some additional help in defense along with new strikers. Still plenty of time in the transfer window and looks like the spending is under control. I wonder who is the next name to be linked with Fulham… Hmmm, Landy Cakes? (laughing to self)

  5. All the talk about the likliehood of relegation, although a real possiblity, is also being overly negative in my opinion. 5 points separate 19fulham from 15th place, and only 7 points separate from 13th. that’s less points in separating 19th and 13th than Liverpool is separated from Chelsea (4th to 3rd). In fact, the battle on the bottom half of the table is much tighter than the battle at the top end.

    I would also like to remind everyone about the 4 point separation between Chelsea and ManU the last few weeks of last season, and it still came down to some last game dramatics, or was it next to last game?

    all that said, why isn’t fulham getting some defense?

    Actually, they need both offense and defense. their scoring rate has dropped a lot the last couple of months.

  6. Do Fulham realize that you only get to put 11 guys on the field at a time, no matter how many you have on your roster? Why don’t they use their money to buy one really good striker instead of two who are pretty much at the same level as the guys they already have?

    I can’t quite figure out what Fulham’s plans are. The only plan that makes any sense to me is this: when McBride gets back, he becomes the target guy partnered with King, and EJ is the third option. Kuqi, Kamara, and Healy get some much-deserved time with the reserve squad. Dempsey moves to right mid, where they’ve used him a bit this year. The only problem with this scenario is that it puts Simon Davies – one of the few players who’s having a decent year – on the bench (once Jimmy Bullard replaces Stephen Davis in central midfield). Why do Fulham seem so determined to add depth instead of quality? I don’t get it.

    Count me as one of those who think Fulham have a chance to stay up. As of a few weeks ago, this stat was true: if matches ended at half time, Fulham would have the most points in the league. They’ve had several ties that could have easily been wins. My point is this: they don’t suck quite as hard as their record suggests. Sunderland, Wigan, Bolton, and Birmingham are all prone to long stretches of lousy play. Fulham could definitely still catch any two from that group.

  7. In the end, I think the EJ deal will fall thru. I too am surprised by the lack of midfield and defensive buying going on… Fulham need more than one more defending option. On the other hand, to pretend they have had an easy time scoring as of late would also be disingenuous. It has been one sorry, sad year of football for Fulham this year. I look forward to McBride and Bullard’s return, but I think both had long term injuries that will make it tough for them to readjust to the game right away. Marlon King is not the answer either. I fear relegation.

  8. Johnson to Fulham with all the competition is exactly what he needs. Its either make it or brake it, Johnson needs to wake up and realize he has the potential to be great but its going to take work. He has to beat out some good strikers to get there.

  9. Arena’s stupid 2006 World Cup decisions are still haunting EJ.
    I’m surprised Fulham still want EJ, and I’m equally surprised he still wants to go there. They are going to be crowded at forward, especially when McBride gets his fitness back and Camara gets back from the African Cup of Nations. Unless Hodgson doesn’t rate Camara or Healy at all and wants to go with some sort of combination of EJ, King, and McBride.
    In reality, unless the owner gave Hodgson a lot more money, I’m surprised they are trying to acquire a second forward when they still have pressing needs in the defense and midfield.

  10. duck1318,

    I’m afraid your memory and underlying dislike of Bruce Arena are playing tricks on you. Eddie Johnson sucked in 2006 before the World Cup. That is why he was limited in the W.C. He wasn’t even playing full games in the games leading up to the World Cup in 2006, and he couldn’t score to save his life. It’s amazing how much crap people gave Arena about Twellman, Johnson, Ching, etc. He was proven right about all of them. In 2006 before the world cup twellman, ching, and johnson were clearly not world cup caliber. To this day these guys are still having problems and not good enough as far as the national team goes. You basically just said that you wish EJ could have returned to his pre W.C. 2006 form. I repeat he had 1 goal, was subbed frequently, and sucked. Yet somehow you think the W.C. limited playing time messed him up? oy!

  11. Read all your comments with interest as I’m a Fulham fan in UK. I was interested in seeing whta you guys though of EJ and am a bit concerned that he might not be the answer.

    Some of you are very clued up on Fulham and what has gone on this season and some are aren’t. Yes we are 5 points a drift and very the team have lost confidence. Earlier in the season we were scoring lots of goals and playing well but the goals have dried up. The big problem we have had is a huge injury list with 5 long term injuries plus a lot of shorter term injuries. Added to that our central defenders have been very poor and I’m afraid to say that Bocanegra has been the biggest culprit.

    We are v.close to signing Brede Hangeland who is a Norwegian international centre back who will be the big defender we have been lacking. Mcbride is also back in training and our number 1 player Bullard is finally fit after an awful knee injury.

    Staying up will be tough but we have a number of players coming back to fitness and I think our remaining games will show a big difference in performamnce.

    Having watched Dempsey a lot I think his best position is not up front but attacking midfield (centre not wide) His biggest problem so far has been finding a position for him, he isnt a striker in my eyes but I do rate him.

    Hope EJ along with the other signings make a difference.

  12. Ives, I’m so glad you asked that last question. I think any problems EJ has had in the past year or so stem from his limited play in the 2006 World Cup. The scoring draught he is having at the Nat level (especially compared to his level of play in 2006 WC qualifying) and the fact that it could be the reason for him not playing in Europe already. Watching him play ever since the World Cup, it always looks too forced and it seems like he tries to hard to make something happen. Where before the World Cup he looked more natural and he was scoring almost at a whim. But etheir way I hope, for EJ’s sake, he gets his opportunity in Europe and gets his pre-2006 World Cup form back.

  13. This makes no sense to me at all. As Michael Ray Richardson once said: “The ship be sinkin’.”

    BTW Adam, I normally love Lucky Bar for soccer, but it’s a terrible place to watch a game on a Saturday night.

  14. Why does everyone seem to think Clint Dempsey is a forward, or will stay a forward? This seems like Landon Donovan all over again. Dempsey, like Landon, should be an attacking midfielder. Sure, if your desperate, you can use him as a forward, but I just don’t ever see him scoring a lot of goals as a forward. Like Landon, I think he would score almost as many goals as an attacking midfielder then he would as a striker, but he would do much more to help his team overall. So I don’t think Dempsey necessarily affects Eddie Johnson at all. Maybe Fulham want EJ and MK as their two forwards with McBride coming off the bench for what little is left of his time at Fulham.

  15. I’m not really a Fulham fan, but they’re only seven points from 13th place, and five points out of 15th. Two teams of Reading, Boro, Bolton, Birmingham City, Wigan, and Sunderland hitting a rough stretch. Except for that rout by Spurs and a Yakubu hattrick– two games– they have played every game pretty close, and aren’t a bad defensive side. They just need an extra goal here and there. If King or (knock wood) EJ can go on a tear and score eight or so goals in their last 16 games, and two of the teams above them go into a slump, they’ll stay up.

    They’re a far better team than Derby, and the scorelines show it.

  16. Johnny,

    You are a brave man! Nice work up but that really does seem a little unrealistic. Not that Fulham couldn’t or won’t beat a top team like Liverpool, but I don’t see them consistently getting results against teams like Aston Villa, West Ham, Blackburn, Newcastle, and Liverpool. I think they will also have a hard time against Bolton, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Reading, and even Sunderland. I don’t doubt that it is possible for them to start getting much better results, I just think the other teams will get good results too. I would like to place a bet that the point total for the best relegated team will be the highest in the Premier Leagues history.

  17. ives,

    one more thing- i appreciate your posting of this. i don’t know if this post was solely or even partially a response to the email i sent you earlier, but you had this up less than three hours after i asked you about it.

    so either way, thanks. the info is much appreciated.

  18. i agree with carl from above- i have no idea why johnson doesn’t try to work something out with watford. they look to be promoted, which will give eddie time to make whatever cultural adjustments are necessary in time to play premiership ball come next fall. in contrast, the only hope he has of seeing serious minutes for fulham is if they get relegated and dump king and/or dempsey.

    bad move for eddie. tell him to call boothroyd about that new forward opening.

  19. That’s not entirely true about Benny. While eligible, he doesn’t hold an Austrian passport currently. He won an appeal on having played a major role in almost every USMNT game since his first camp and Bob Bradley gave a statement saying that Benny was a big part of the future of the Natl Team and would continue to get caps and would definitely play in 75% of the games he could over 2 years.

  20. I’m baffled by Fulham continuing to acquire strikers (American or otherwise) as if the problem weren’t that half their backline couldn’t defend a potted plant. (Yes, yes, hyperbole.) But I suppose there’s a small chance that people who do this for a living actually know more about it than I do. So I’m curious to see how this works out. Are there a bunch of defenders secretly in the pipeline for the Cottage? Intriguing.

    (btw: SFTony: Feilhaber is probably eligible for an Austrian passport–through his grandfather, I think–but he doesn’t have it. That’s why he had to go through the same appeals process that Johnson is going through.)

  21. Benny didn’t need 75%. He is a naturalized Brazilian-Austrian Jew. Keyword – Austrian. EU member…free to move around Europe.

  22. Hey hey,

    I figured if there was going to be a miracle comeback this season there had to be one upset. My crystal ball says Tores will be injured for that game and Rafa get the axe after they lose. How about a house at the shore.

  23. Johnny I just placed $50k on a 1-0 cottager shutout of ‘Pool. If I win I’ll buy you a house. If i lose, expect nameless goons to show up at your door.

  24. Here are the teams they can beat once all are back healthy and the transfers are in.

    Fulham’s remaing schedule

    Fulham 1 Arsenal 2
    Fulham 2 Bolton 1
    Fulham 2 Aston Villa 2
    Fulham 1 Middlesbrough
    Fulham 3 West Ham 2
    Fulham 0 Man U 3
    Fulham 2 Blackburn 1
    Fulham 1 Everton 3
    Fulham 3 New Castle 3
    Fulham 2 Derby 1
    Fulham 3 Sunderland 1
    Fulham 2 Reading 2
    Fulham 1 Liverpool 0
    Fulham 1 Man City 3
    Fulham 1 Birmingham 0

    Fulham finish with 42 pts in 16th.
    Place your bets now and thank me later!

  25. Aristotle-

    There are a handful of teams just above the relegation mark that aren’t that strong. The way Fulham have played the last two months they couldn’t beat anyone. But if you remember back to earlier in the season, the team was playing some entertaining football and had numerous games they should have won or lost because of a stupid error here or there. These are the same players that as of recently were playing as if they hadn’t a clue.

    So if Hodgson can pick up a few players and lift the remaining players spirits and get them playing as a unit again, it is very possible that they could get numerous wins the second half of the season. The problem will be, can they get enough to pull them out of the relegation zone.

    Simply put, there are other teams with worse rosters than Fulham. Perhaps the biggest problem is that Fulham have to many small players and to many midfielders with similar qualities. Hodgson is working on sorting that out.

  26. Johnny, Johnny, Johnny! I wish it could happen, but I just can’t see it. I asked someone else this before, I’ll ask you the same question. What three teams do you see Fulham beating? Even if they play well I think other teams will fend them off. Other than Fulham and Derby all of the other potential relegation candidates seem pretty determined and talented enough to stay up. Maybe Sunderland will lose a dogfight and become the third team. I can’t see anyone else going down at this point.

  27. Benny got a transfer and I have no idea what % of games he had with the USMNT, but it was no where near 75%. Dempsey had 69% he made it through and so will Eddie. To all the EJ haters, I know he hasn’t played to his full potential, but lets give him one more chance before we write him off he’s still young and I think under the advice of Clint and McBride he will raise his game to the next level. Eddie I still believe!

  28. Hodgson wouldn’t have acquired EJ without becoming convinced that he could be of help. I had been concerned that this is being done at least partially for marketing reasons, but I now think that would be silly.

  29. This is exactly what I was wondering about when I heard about the Marlon King transfer.

    It does look like Fulham is set for relegation – EJ is not going to light things up, I’m sorry. Though I would love to see more EJ CD highlight reel goals, don’t get me wrong. More Yanks in the Championship next year – maybe DeMerit will pass them on the way up, but the bulk of them are on the way down.

  30. EJ is a CCC, staving off relefation type talent. That is what his ability is. Unlike a few young Yanks who made terrible choices going to a league that doesn’t fit their skillset, the CCC/relegation type teams are perfect for EJ’s game.

    The issue is his mind. Is he tough enough mentally? Will he shrivel when he get’s criticized or benched? Will he whine if he doesn’t get regular playing time? Will he work hard enough? Will he be able to become more aggressive on the field?

    These are the EJ issues which will spell success or failure for him.

    Relegation fodder and CCC is his level based on his skillset.

    To not see, or comprehend this basic obvious issue, will only lead to dissapointment and dumb expectations. Right league for what he excels at also.

    Hope this one actually goes through.

  31. I actually think this is a good move for Eddie and Fulham. I’m not a Marlon King fan, but with he and Eddie up front and Dempsey playing a wing/withdrawn Striker roll, I think it shapes up pretty good. Dempsey has been Fulham’s best player this year, and Bocanegra and McBride were their best players last year. It’s their English players that suck.

  32. For all of you who think EJ would be better off in the CL, isn’t that essentially where he is going?

    Isn’t Marlon King getting tired of being relegated? If he just stayed where he is now the chances are very good he will be playing in the EPL next year. Now, as it is, he will almost certainly be playing in the CL again next year. seems like a silly move for him unless he thinks he is some kind of super heroe who will save Fullham.

  33. I believe when Dempsey moved, he had only played in 69% of the matches the previous two years and he had no problem winning an appeal. EJ should be fine.

    And to add, for chicago millonario, they have today agreed a deal for Brede Hangeland. He plays for FC Copenhagen as a centreback and was born in Houston (although he is a Norwegian international).

  34. Since Eddie would only be playing in the EPL until the end of this season when Fulham is relegated, I can’t see why England should not grant him a permit for a measly 3%! Besides shouldn’t they take into account that the U.S. hardly let’s anyone play 75% of their games? It’s not like we use the same lineup for more than one game. We are in a never ending “experiment” mode.

  35. With the acquisition of Marlon King I’m starting to change my tune a little bit on the EJ situation. I’d much rather see him now go to Watford with Mssr. DeMerit and get some quality PT in the Championship before he moves up to the Premier League. Hell, even Preston sounds like a better deal.

    At Fulham Johnson will, at best, become the third choice striker. This assumes they move Dempsey further back into midfield and that two of Healy, Kamara and McBride either get hurt or suck.

    I don’t understand why Fulham wants an embarassment of (mid-level) riches.

  36. Yet another reason to dislike Bruce Arena?
    McBride coming back strong is not 100% (that is a hard injury to come back from and he is getting up there in age)
    I think a King Johnson pairing up front with Dempsey on the right would be a big improvement to what Fulham have now. Healy and Kamara suck ass!

  37. Ives, out of curiosity, how does the 75% work? I assume this is just for Premier League since players with few caps can go to LEague One, etc. How does something like this work for someone like Jozy?

  38. Johnson will be a flop. He’ll get this transfer, profit from it, train with Fulham, play a couple of times, then after they are relegated, he’ll have a hard time latching on to another team. I hope if he has to come back to MLS with his tail between his legs, they wont give him anywhere near the 850k he was making…

    The kid just doesn’t have the mental attributes necessary to be a top flight striker.

  39. Ives, out of curiosity, how does the 75% work? I assume this is just for Premier League since players with few caps can go to LEague One, etc. How does something like this work for someone like Jozy?

  40. I think Johnson will get a work permit, rounding up to 75% should not be a problem, then again it is the UK and there is procedure!

    PS anyone in the DC area that wants to watch the USA vs Sweden game ought to come down to Lucky Bar!!!!


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