Following a disappointing first season with Fulham, Rui Fonte wasn’t part of Slavisa Jokanovic’s plans in the Premier League, and was swiftly shipped out on loan to Lille.
Getting to play alongside his brother, José, the 28-year-old was given a second chance to impress by Christophe Galtier, while the Cottagers will have hoped the man they paid over £8m for would be able to find some form either to secure a move elsewhere upon his return or reintegrate the club next year.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, that has yet to happen, as Fonte has yet to find the back of the net in eight appearances in all competitions.
Hindered for around a few weeks because of a hamstring injury, the former Portugal U21 international could be excused because of his setback, but that’s not how the Lille manager approaches things, speaking of his striker options in a press conference on Thursday.
He said, relayed by Le Figaro: “To be very honest, there’s no hierarchy in that position, and they know it. As of yet, no one has made that spot their own. They know what I’m looking for and that I’m not satisfied of their output for various reasons”.
Competing with a 31-year-old Loic Remy and 19-year-old Rafael Leao, that’s not what Fulham will have wanted to hear, seeing as Fonte is tied to Craven Cottage for another year upon his return, meaning they could struggle to offload him if this continue.
However, there’s a long time left in the season, and plenty of time for the striker to turn things around.
He’ll just need to help his team a bit more than he has so far, as Lille have hit a bit of a blip after a surprisingly strong start to the season.