North East rivals Newcastle United and Middlesbrough have officially missed out on the signing of Sheyi Ojo, with Fulham confirming that they have won a crowded race to loan the young Liverpool winger.
All three of those aforementioned clubs along with the likes of Aston Villa and Derby County had been hoping to bolster their attacking options with the capture of former Milton Keynes Dons youngster Ojo, a Reds academy graduate who has made 13 senior appearances to date under Jurgen Klopp since making his first-team bow in January 2016.
It was essentially left to the England Under-20 World Cup winner to decide which of that trio he wanted to join, with a decision seemingly taking weeks to arrive. However, it was finally revealed on Wednesday (16 August) that Ojo will spend the rest of the 2017-18 campaign at Craven Cottage.
"I'm delighted to welcome Sheyi Ojo to the Fulham Football Club," said vice-chairman and director of football operations Tony Khan. "I've had the pleasure of spending time with Sheyi and his family, and I've seen first-hand what a tremendous work ethic Sheyi has both on and off the pitch.
"He possesses fantastic physical talents and also carries himself with poise and class, and I know that he's going to be a great addition to our squad."
Ojo is already familiar with the rough and tumble of the Championship, having previously spent time with both Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He featured only 30 times in total across those two stints and was recalled from a largely disappointing spell at Molineux amid a debilitating injury crisis.
Newly-promoted Newcastle were previously said to be leading the race for Ojo and Rafael Benitez will no doubt be disappointed at having failed to land another target amid a summer of tense transfer friction at St James' Park. However, it is worth noting that the Magpies have already increased their depth in wide positions with the permanent addition of former loanee Christian Atsu and £12m ($15.4m) addition of Jacob Murphy.
Ojo boosts a Fulham squad that reached the Championship play-offs last year and have opened the 2017-18 campaign with three successive draws against Norwich City, Reading and Leeds United. Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon broke his leg at Elland Road on Tuesday night, while reports suggest that vice-captain Sone Aluko is becoming increasingly unsettled with his contract situation following sustained interest from Reading.
Fulham, who have already added Piazon, Tomas Kalas, Aboubakar Kamara, Oliver Norwood, Ibrahima Cisse and Marcelo Djalo to their squad during the current transfer window,are also reported to have clinched the £8m signing of former Arsenal forward Rui Fonte from Portuguese outfit Braga.