Silva: Fulham signings available for Chelsea game

Fulham boss Marco Silva says new signings Cedric Soares and Sasa Lukic will be available for Friday’s visit to Chelsea.

The duo were signed late on the final day of the transfer window, with Serbia international Lukic due to arrive in London on Thursday from Rome after his visa was rubber-stamped following his £8m switch from Torino.

Soares signed on loan from Arsenal, with the move only completed in the nick of time due to complications concerning the number of players already on Fulham’s books who are on loan from Premier League clubs.

For Soares to sign until the end of the season, Fulham had to complete the permanent transfer of Shane Duffy from Brighton, with Premier League rules only permitting teams to have two loans from fellow top-flight teams, with Leeds’ winger Dan James also at the club.

Silva’s side beat Chelsea three weeks ago at Craven Cottage but the Blues have signed seven new players since that 2-1 defeat, including £89m winger Mykhailo Mudryk and Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez for a record £105m.

“Those who were available last week will be available again,” Silva said.

“Lukic arrives today to our football club, so I’ll need to make a decision.

“He is a good player and a mature age. He adds different competition after we let Nathanial Chalobah and Josh Onomah leave and he raises the level of our team.

“Soares is a player I know well and gives us a right-back options along with Kenny (Tete)

“Bobby De Cordova-Reid has played there before for us and done well, but we needed a natural right-back.”

Silva played down Chelsea’s extraordinary spending which took their transfer splurge for the 2022/23 season past the £500m mark.

“It is something no-one expects,” he said.

“It shows their power and ambition they are lucky they have this money to do this.

“It is not new. It happens in France, Italy and all the top leagues.”