MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 24: Jermain Defoe during an England training session at Etihad Stadium on May 24, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Oh how I long for some football. For England fans, of course, there is Euro 2012 to exhume, in all its depressing glory. With Roy Hodgson at the helm there is that sense of familiarity to the Three Lions but, while they thieve the headlines over the next month, there will still be stories to tell from SW6.
Most of it, undoubtedly, will be materialised in the minds of some particularly creative journalists but there is no doubt that there will be activity at Motspur Park over the coming weeks and months. Here, I take a look at what could happen, what should happen and, fingers tightly crossed, what shouldn't happen.
Jordan Rhodes - The most concrete and seemingly authentic link so far has been our supposed bid for the Huddersfield striker. According to reports - mostly from the Daily Mail - we've had a £3.5 million offer turned down, following the Terriers' promotion to the heady heights of the Championship. Following that Play Off success, Jol has made a £5 million offer that hasn't seemingly been responded to.
He's not quite the proven goalscorer - at least not at the top level of the English game - that we're after, but his free-scoring antics in League One has caught the attention of many a club. While players in a similar ilk - DJ Campbell, Jay Bothroyd - have failed to up their game when the Premier League has come a-knocking, there is something that suggests Rhodes is a cut above. Any move, below around £6 million, would garner my support. He has the potential to set England alight and there's no harm in letting Craven Cottage be his battleground.
Nacer Chadli - The rumours have been incredibly persistent with this young Belgian winger. At just 22, his glory years are clearly still ahead of him - something he acknowledged when he conceded that a move to Fulham could prove to be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. He compared his own possible path to that of fellow countryman Moussa Dembele and, while there's little sentiment in the idea that Fulham will be but a mere proving ground for Chadli, there could be a substantial profit involved in the end and at least a couple of years of top rate service.
Known for his pace, the winger could well have a role to play in the Fulham set up, perhaps adding an extra dimension to play in any absence of Damien Duff, whose legs are not what they used to be. At a price of around £5 million, he will not quite be a player of the quality of Dembele if and when he arrives, but the opportunity to nurture a truly terrific midfielder should be one that Jol doesn't dismiss.
Jermain Defoe/Niko Kranjcar - It's unfortunate that to be linked with two players of such experience and quality, that it is likely that Clint Dempsey or Dembele would have to go in the other direction. Jermain Defoe has a goal scoring record rarely seen in a Fulham purchase and his inclusion in the England squad for the European Championships shows he still has a significant role to play. Kranjcar is in a similar situation to Defoe - a top-drawer individual somewhat squeezed out by the numerous talents Harry Redknapp has at his disposal at Tottenham Hotspur. Both are players that could well make or break a season but the fact that Dembele would have to go the other way to get just one of the pair makes this rumour somewhat bittersweet.
Danny Simpson - It wasn't the most inspiring link thrown our way but the very thought of it highlighted our need for a proven right back. Zdenek Grygera was not included in Fulham's retained list, released today, and unlike Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Murphy, it is not thought that the club will pursue his signature on a new deal. That leaves a vast gap in the right back role which has been filled, with sporadic success, by Stephen Kelly over the past campaign.
Simpson is an established defender, and at the highest level, with pace in abundance, and yet the idea of him in Fulham's setup hardly fills me with confidence. Jose Bosingwa has been granted permission to leave Chelsea and he would be a player perfectly shaped to strengthen the right hand side but, palpably, his wages would prove a huge stumbling block. I for one hope a link to a somewhat stronger right back is established over the next few weeks.
Moussa Dembele - Every member of England's elite have been credited with a passing interest in our Belgian midfielder and the persistence has yet to wear thin. Chelsea seem to be the most eager, the West London side supposedly tabling a £10 million bid to add to their already vast Belgian contingent. That offer is highly unlikely to persuade Martin Jol and Mohammed Al Fayed to let him go, however, and Fulham are likely to hold out for something far greater. In an attempt to mitigate losses, Jol is expected to agree a part exchange with any club which makes their interest known.
The major problem with such an idea will be wages. Florent Malouda could be thrown into the mix if Chelsea are to be Dembele's destination but there's no way Al Fayed would sanction the salary that the Frenchman would demand. It is highly likely that he will leave this summer but Jol is more eager to keep him than he is Dempsey, considering the pair's respective ages.
Clint Dempsey - After the season finished, it seemed an inevitability that Dempsey had played his last game for the Whites. That proposal still stands, but no firm bids have been made for the American as yet and at 29 years old, many clubs are being put off by the idea that his best days are behind him. One of those sides is Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger apparently following the midfielders fortunes over the course of last season. Wenger was impressed, but severely doubts if he will fit into the system. They are expected to deliberate over the coming months and come back with something after the Euros.
If nothing goes through this summer, which is a distinct possibility, it is thought that Dempsey will not sign a new deal, in his long quest for Champions League football. No matter what, it is unlikely that Dempsey will play for Fulham beyond 2013. In such a circumstance, it seems far more sensible to cash in now and Jol appears to be on a similar wavelength. He will be hoping that interest will come from somewhere other than the Emirates.
David Stockdale - As was reported here yesterday, he's been linked with a move to West Ham United, with the goalkeeper believing his chances at Fulham are highly limited because of Mark Schwarzer. So much is true, too, but beyond next season, there'll be doubts over our Australian stopper's future and Stockdale may well become first choice. He is well adept to the role, too, having shown his ability in Schwarzer's absence on many-an-occasion, but whether he has the patience to see out the current number one's career is a question he knows the answer to. With a bid of around £5 million put forward by the Hammers, Jol will certainly be tempted.