JUST IN : Fulham are struggling to brig in replacement for another 28-year-old superstar

Many spectators were amused during Carlos Vinicius’ season-long loan at Tottenham in 2021 when, after scoring an FA Cup hat-trick against eighth-tier Marine, he performed the Kylian Mbappe arms-folded celebration.

The passionate shout he let out after netting Fulham’s victory against Luton Town at home on Saturday was arguably more acceptable and certainly more understandable.

After coming off the bench, the 28-year-old scored the game’s only goal in just three minutes, giving Fulham their first home win of the season.

Vinicius scored five Premier League goals last season, including the game-winning goal against Chelsea at Craven Cottage. Saturday was his first outing of the new season, and he made the most of it.

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Raul Jimenez, a £5 million summer transfer from Wolves, has started every game but has yet to score. When asked last month whether Jimenez could replicate Aleksandar Mitrovic’s goals, Marco Silva was cold. Jimenez formerly scored 17 League goals for Wolves in a season and has 33 goals for Mexico, but he has not been the same player since fracturing his skull in a match against Arsenal in November 2020. He was once again ineffective against Luton.

Before the international break, the case for giving Vinicius a chance was already compelling. After another difficult day for Jimenez and a match-winning cameo from Vinicius, Silva is under increasing pressure to move the Brazilian to the starting lineup.

“The dynamic he brought in was exactly what we needed at the time,” Silva explained. “Competition between them is always important.”

Harrison Reed was equally impressed, adding, “Vinny came on and made an impression.” I’m thrilled for him – he’s a great guy in the locker room and a popular player. He appeared exhausted after his jubilation!

“I can’t say enough good things about him. He came in last season and had to be patient with Mitro as the key man. He was great when he received his game time. This season is no exception. Raul has started the first few games, but Vinny has showed off the bench how valuable he can be for us.”

If Vinicius was the only goal scorer at Craven Cottage, it was another 28-year-old who put up the more complete effort.

Joao Palhinha was back in the Fulham team and back to his combative best after signing a contract deal until 2028 with an option for another year.

He won more tackles, aerial duels, and total duels than any other player, delighting home supporters with the kind of virtuoso display that will undoubtedly tempt Bayern Munich back in January following their rejected £56 million deadline-day deal.

“Everyone can feel it’s a massive boost that we’ve not only kept Joao in this window but that he’s committed his long-term future to the club,” said his midfield partner Reed.

“This is a huge boost for the team, the club, and the fans.” “The future appears to be bright.”

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