Marco Silva knows he faces a challenge to strengthen striker-light Fulham

Marco Silva admitted it will be difficult to sign the right players to fill his Fulham squad so late in the transfer window (Adam Davy/PA)
Reuben Rosso-Powell, PA

Marco Silva admitted it will be really difficult to replace Aleksandar Mitrovic and to strengthen his squad as Fulham’s hunt for new players hots up ahead of the September 1 transfer deadline.

The Cottagers will be without the Serbian striker, who netted 14 goals in the Premier League last season, after they sold him for a club-record fee to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal.

Silva hinted Fulham have left it too late to find the right profile of players to fill his under-sized squad with just one week before the market closes until January.

“In this moment in the market I have to say it is really difficult (to sign players) and this is the problem when you leave things until the last week of the market,” Silva said.

“I am 100 per cent sure even if we lose an important player for us (Mitrovic) that with time we would be able to sign a player that could help us but right now we are doing the maximum, so let’s see if it will be possible.

“Seven players left us at the end of the season and we lost Mitrovic too and we’ve just signed two so I think it’s clear to people how many players we need.

“If we are to sign a striker it needs to be the right one, it has to be someone who can have the right impact in our squad with the conditions to help us, this is the main thing for me.”

Fulham meet Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday in search of their first Premier League win over the Gunners since 2012.

Silva earmarked their opponents as one of the best teams in the competition and highlighted the size of the challenge at hand this weekend.

“Last year they played at a very good level, they are one of the best teams in the competition, they showed that last season and they will again this season, they are a tough team and at home even more with all the support which will make it a good challenge for us,” Silva added.

“I understand their two wingers (Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka) have the skills and the quality and (in) one v one they are also impressive. In the absence of Gabriel Jesus (Eddie) Nketiah is also doing really well and is a good solution for them.

“They signed (Kai) Havertz and (Declan) Rice who went straight into their 11, which means they reinforced their midfield really well and that shows the impact of the players in their squad.”

Tim Ream was shown a second yellow card after he gave away a penalty in Fulham’s 3-0 loss to Brentford last week.

Silva criticised referee Darren Bond’s decision to dismiss his captain and mentioned how important the centre-back has been over the last couple of seasons.

“He’s been a really important player for us in the last two seasons and he received an unfair red card,” Silva added.

“It will be the chance for Calvin (Bassey), who will start.”