LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Danny Murphy of Fulham in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Blackburn Rovers at Craven Cottage on September 11, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
As of yet, nothing has been confirmed, but the mere thought of Danny Murphy's imminent departure from South West London not only makes the masses severely worried for Fulham FC, but evokes an emotional response that very few other players could.
And yet, it's not even the natural respect that stems from the leaving of a player of sublime quality. He is quite some craftsman but we are more saddened by this loss because of what he meant to Fulham. Murphy epitomised a passing game that has been prevalent in play at Craven Cottage ever since Roy Hodgson moved to change the fortunes of this humble club in the cold, morbid time of late December 2007.
Our captain, or former captain as it now appears, seemed to change at that time. He changed from a player that had lost his way, somewhat, amongst his shifting career that took him from the highs of Liverpool to the lows of a stint at Charlton Athletic and a less-than-rewarding year at Tottenham Hotspur. More than anything, he seemed to find himself. He played to his strengths and surpassed a standard that you would expect from someone who, it must be said, is past the ripe stage of a footballer's lifespan.
But he wasn't just the embodiment of a pleasing style of play; he was a skipper too. Hodgson, when choosing his long-standing captain in summer 2008, had players of the ilk of Brede Hangeland, Aaron Hughes and Simon Davies all making prominent suggestions that they had the influence to lead this team with more than a symbolic armband. Murphy was chosen, though, as the stand-out option, and while there were murmurs of discontent, it was a widely accepted choice.
Now, though, we see the wisdom in that decision. On the pitch and off of it, he has fulfilled his duty splendidly and led by an example which has fused together his palpable talent with a doggedness you can only seem to find in British thoroughbreds.
That is what we will miss. The ability has the potential to be replaced - with some extensive searching - but his characteristics cannot. This is why Twitter erupted into technological tears at the news of his successful medical at Blackburn Rovers. This is why it's becoming increasingly difficult to picture a Fulham line-up without a Murphy on the team sheet. He only missed three games last season. At 35.
In spite of this, and despite the inclination in English football to look on the pessimistic side of any opening door, there is something we can extract from this quite depressing news that could at least spark something that resembles positivity. It is in the implication of these quick fire sales. How can Martin Jol sanely let Andrew Johnson, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Murphy walk free from Motspur Park without the foresight to have something substantial up his neatly pressed-sleeve?
We can only speculate but to replace someone so instrumental in the recent successes here, there must be money set aside and targets clearly in mind. It seems to signify a hastily-prepared new dawn for the club in which the old is quite literally shed to make room for the new. The new will, according to Jol's self-explained mantra, be younger, fresher and, perhaps importantly, unafraid.
You have to worry, by nature, that the ideology could quite destructively backfire but to do so would be to lose faith in the ability of Jol and the history of success that follows him so closely. He attempted, but ultimately failed, to implement his new desires from the beginning last season but the likes of Matthew Briggs, Marcel Gecov and Pajtim Kasami didn't live up to their esteemed representations. But then you glance at the slender structure of Kerim Frei and you ogle as his feet caress the ball and you begin to believe that the work has already started and the base from which to build is already there.
Moussa Dembele is the player we'd most expect, from within, to fill the cosmic gap that Murphy will leave and few can doubt he has what it takes. While not being similar in style to the former Liverpool midfielder, he is at least extensively talented. Add this to a summer of transfers that we predict will be rather bust and the loss of Murphy becomes just slightly less painful.
It will still hurt and it will still sting but it will not cause lasting damage. Only a systematic failure will do that.
Do you think we could have a better midfield next season, even without Murphy?
Yes (62 votes)
No (30 votes)
92 total votes