Bryan Ruiz makes slow start to his Fulham career

The last time Fulham imported a striker for an eight figure sum, Steve Marlet, Mohammed Al Fayed sacked and attempted to sue Jean Tigana, the manager responsible for the transfer, claiming he had “grossly overpaid” for the forward in question. Plenty of seemingly high-calibre front men have struggled in the Premier League, so you can forgive Fulham fans for any scepticism that may result from another forward arriving for a fee north of £10m. All eyes then are on Bryan Ruiz after his arrival from the Eredivisie, for a price reported to be £10.6m

Signed by Steve McClaren for £4m from Gent, the arrival of Ruiz ignited Twente’s fortunes as they were crowned champions of Holland for the first time. Ruiz netted 24 times, including a hat-trick in the first five minutes of the second-half of a game against Sparta Rotterdam. Twente finished runners up to Ajax last season but won the KNVB Cup and the Johan Cruyff Schaal, the Dutch equivalent of the Community Shield, twice during Ruiz’s spell, in a period of unprecedented achievement. Ruiz, in two very impressive seasons as FC Twente’s figurehead, notched 36 goals in 61 appearances,

Despite interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, who matched Fulham’s offer, Ruiz signed a four-year deal at Craven Cottage, claiming that Martin Jol was instrumental in his decision. “I’m really happy to be joining Fulham Football Club and playing under Martin Jol who is a manager I admire from his time managing in Holland for Ajax,” said Ruiz. “I chose to come to Fulham because it feels more personal than other clubs I have visited.

Ruiz started Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers on Sunday in what turned out to be a cameo performance. The Costa Rican’s debut left a lot to be desired, as he struggled to get to grips with the pace and physicality of a typical Premier League contest. Referee Howard Webb appeared unimpressed as Ruiz frequently went to ground when challenged and Jol clearly felt the same way as he did not return for the second-half, replaced by Moussa Dembele at the break.

Ruiz will need to adjust quickly if he is to overcome his English football culture shock and avoid his hefty price tag becoming a burden – he certainly has the ability if he can summon the application. There is also plenty of competition for places at Fulham, with the likes of Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson, and Dembele all pushing for regular first team football.

Ruiz already has the nicknames “la Comadreja”, which translates as “the weasel”, which alludes to his close control, also “la escoba” aka “the broom”, due to his tall, skinny build and long hair. The hope is that he will not be adding “the new Steve Marlet” to that list.

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