The vultures are circling Craven Cottage. Can the club repeat last season's top 10 finish?

Last Season: 9th
In: Hugo Rodallega (Wigan, free transfer), Mladen Petric (Hamburger SV, free tranfser), Sascha Riether (Cologne, season-long loan)
Out: Dickson Etuhu (Blackburn, £1.6m), Andy Johnson (QPR, free transfer), Danny Murphy (Blackburn, free transfer), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading, free transfer), Orlando Sa (released), Bjorn Helge Riise (Lillestrom, free transfer), Marcel Gecov (KAA Gent, £686,000)
If they were an Olympian: Asafa Powell. Well liked by most, had one moment of real international attention, unlikely to ever hit the heights again. Still better than most.

Few people have a bad word to say about Fulham, except for that horrific statue of Michael Jackson outside the ground, and that is largely down to the way the club conducts itself on and off the pitch. There is much to admire at Craven Cottage; from the clubs consistently prudent work in the transfer market to its thriving academy. However the vultures are circling and the club face the realistic prospect of losing one of, or even both, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele. Both are being courted by clubs with greater clout than Fulham. Dempsey and Dembele are both entering the final years of their contracts so the club will surely wish to either sell them now or tie them to new deals. The loss of these players would be enormous, Dempsey scored 23 goals in all competitions last year and few players can glide past defenders as easily as Dembele. With the losses of Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson, both joining old boss Mark Hughes at QPR, Fulham certainly need their two star men to stay.

Boss Martin Jol has attempted to rebuild his front-line which was heavily reliant on Dempsey last season, by bringing in Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric. Petric is a talented player and should fit in well but he has never been prolific whilst Rodallega endured a terrible season last year and usually requires 4 or 5 chances to score. Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz should be better off with a full season behind him and should build on the flashes of brilliance he demonstrated last year.

The departure of the ageless Danny Murphy will also hit the Cottagers hard as their former captain had been the heartbeat of their side for a number of years.

Despite the loss of several established players there is plenty to be positive about. Several of their academy players showed real promise last season. Young Swiss winger Kerim Frei destroyed many full backs and Alex Kacaniklic also showed promise. Many around the club also talk up the abilities of Marcello Trotta and Mesca Na Bangna.

Fulham's home form has always been key to their success, last year they beat Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle as well as holding Manchester City and Chelsea, and this year will be no different. The away form, which was a perennial problem, showed signs of improvement last year. Defensively much depends on Mark Schwarzer and Brede Hangeland sustaining their form and this year may see the rise to prominence of young full back Matthew Briggs who is an excellent prospect.

The transfer window is crucial to Fulham's prospects. If they are able to prevent Dembele and Dempsey from departing then they have every chance of continuing last seasons work. Were they to depart then problems would begin to mount as they are the two players in Jol's squad who are irreplaceable and without them the fluid attacking system Jol has developed would be ripped apart.
 
Predicted Finish: 9th

Key Man: Only Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero scored more goals in the league last year than Clint Dempsey and Fulham's hopes are very much reliant on the American remaining at the club. Dempsey's move further forward last year into a "false 9" position was a revelation. Comfortable on either foot, Dempsey can shoot from distance as well as possessing an uncanny ability to time his arrivals into the box, where he has fantastic aerial ability.


Underrated: Much maligned by fans for his time at Arsenal, Philippe Senderos proved his doubters wrong last year with a number of excellent displays at the heart of Fulham's defence.


Watch out for: Losing to Arsenal last season, Martin Jol threw on Kerim Frie with instructions to test stand in right back Johan Djorou. The result? Djourou was sent off for fouling Frei and Fulham won the game 2-1. Comfortable going inside or outside, and possessing turbo acceleration Frei was a revelation last season and will look to secure a regular starting spot.