From winning the EFL Championship in 2021/22 to impressing in their return to the top-flight to reaching the EFL Cup semifinals for the first time in club history, it has certainly been a memorable spell at Fulham for Tosin Adarabioyo. However, that chapter may be coming to an end sooner rather than later, with the 26-year-old center half showing little interest in renewing his contract past the summer of 2024, and Marco Silva’s side may very well be forced to cash in on him this month in order to avoid losing him on a free.
Born in Manchester to Nigerian parents, Adarabioyo is eligible to play for the Three Lions or Super Eagles, having played for England at the youth level. After 13 years at City’s academy, he broke into the first team in 2016 and became the then-youngest player to represent the club in the Champions League, but ultimately failed to make his mark under Pep Guardiola, who loaned him out to West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers before agreeing to part ways with him in 2020 for a fee of £2 million with City retaining a 20% sell-on clause.
Tosin Adarabioyo, the English born man of Nigerian descent, has been as a key figure for Fulham over the past few seasons, from winning the Championship in 21/22 as well as their impressive performances since their Premier League return. A former Manchester City academy graduate, the 26-year-old center half has impressed with his composure, aerial prowess, and eye catching tackles and promises to be a bargain in a summer that could see him leave London on a free transfer.
What Are His Main Strengths?
Aerial Dominance: Standing at 6ft 5in even right from the same of 16, and what’s particularly impressive about such a frame is his high level of bodily coordination, his turns and touches are executed cleanly. Adarabioyo is a nightmare for attackers in the air, reducing the likelihood of conceding chances from long balls if a team wants to play over the press.
This season and last season, he has won an average of 69% of his aerial duels, consequently this makes him a particularly useful asset in the opposition box, especially for set-play, with all 4 of his goals for Fulham being headed goals.
Tackle Reach: Another benefit of Tosin’s frame is the increased tackle reach when engaging in tackles, this is especially important when defending against pacy forwards.
Ball Reading and Positioning: Tosin displays a keen understanding of timing his tackles, often times he’s deepest of the backline because he’s trusted to make snuff out attacks in central areas, highlighting trust in his intelligence and reading of defending attacks. He’s adept at anticipating attacking runs and snuffing out dangerous attacks. He excels in reading crosses and interceptions, often cutting out passes before they reach their target. His positioning is usually impeccable, rarely caught out of position by quick transitions.
Ball playing: Although not a part of his game consistently displayed, Adarabioyo has very good passing range when playing out from the back, particularly long diagonal balls from deep, perhaps his time at the City academy being of high influence in this regard. He’s also comfortable in build-up, accruing 91% of accurate passes in the defensive half this season.
What Does He Need to Work On?
Pace: While not slow, Adarabioyo can be exposed by pacy attackers in defending against turnovers. Teams with quick wingers or forwards might try to exploit this weakness by isolating him in one-on-one situations. This though is compensated by Tosin occupying more central areas in the defensive third, rather than being drawn 1v1 out wide.
Distribution: While his passing is decent, Adarabioyo sometimes struggles with precision required to launch counter-attacks from deep. Improving his long ball accuracy and finding more incisive passes could further enhance his overall game.
In summary, Tosin is a must-have for any side looking to reinforce in central defence, his age, profile and experience would be an asset to just about any side, and even after a recent injury layoff, he’s been instrumental to Fulham this term upon his return to the side. At 26, he has established himself as a weathered veteran of England’s top two divisons, and it seems that his adventure at Craven Cottage could be coming to an end soon with Tottenham, Monaco and various other clubs reportedly showing interest.
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Michael Regan – Getty Images