Fulham boss Marco Silva talked up “quality” Chelsea midfield pair Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez ahead of the west London derby at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea broke the British transfer record twice this year, signing Fernandez from Benfica for a reported £106.8million in January before beating Liverpool to confirm the transfer of Caicedo from Brighton for £115m in August.
Silva spoke on how the pair’s price-tags reflect their ability and expects them to bring the fight to Harrison Reed and Joao Palhinha on Monday.
“Enzo joined in January and Caicedo in the summer as well,” Silva said. “They’re quality. We are talking about two players they almost spent £250 million on.
“This speaks about the quality and about how much they wanted them in their squad.
“Plus (Conor) Gallagher in the midfield, they have the quality, the energy, they have the organisation to create a very good fight with our midfield line and I think it will be a very good fight because they have that quality.”
Alex Iwobi’s second-half strike during Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third round 2-1 victory over Norwich was his first Fulham goal since his reported £22million move from Everton on deadline day.
Silva, who also signed Iwobi as Everton manager in 2019, spoke on the Nigeria international’s versatility and what he offers to his squad.
“It was very good (Iwobi’s performance against Norwich),” Silva added.
“He’s a player I know really well, he knows the Premier League so well and he’s mature. He has the quality, can play in many different positions and is a player that will give us the quality that we need in certain parts of the game.
“He provides that extra energy as well. It was good for him to score on his first game in a Fulham shirt and I want to see more of him.
“He’s going to be a really important player for us and I am pleased for him for starting his first game.”
From Chelsea’s starting XI during their 2-1 loss at Fulham in January, Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah are the only remaining players at the club.
Silva said: “They are different and we are different as well. I think the game is going to be completely different. We can have a look for some things, but it will be different. They have a different manager.”