Fulham are set to be boosted by the return to fitness of wonderkid Fabio Carvalho for after the international break.
But the Cottagers are having to put their hopes of signing the teenager to a new long-term contract on ice until at least the end of the year, raising fears his long-term future may lie elsewhere.
The teenager, who has scored three goals in five appearances this season, has missed the club’s previous seven matches due to a niggling foot injury.
But there is hope the 19-year-old will be fit to return for the local derby against Queens Park Rangers on October 16.
Having picked up 13 points from a possible 15 with Carvalho in the side during Fulham’s unbeaten start to the season, Marco Silva’s team have won just two of their six Championship matches without the youngster.
But Carvalho’s return to fitness will come as a major boost to Silva, particular after their disappointing 4-1 loss to Coventry last weekend.
It remains to be seen whether Silva is prepared to throw his talented teen straight back into the team with his imminent return arriving amid a backdrop of growing uncertainty over his future at the club.
The England youth international is widely recognised as one of the brightest young players in the country and his performances have attracted huge attention from England and abroad, with Real Madrid and host of top 10 Premier League clubs monitoring his situation closely.
His existing deal expires at the end of the season but Fulham want to tie their academy graduate down to a new long term contract.
But while the growing interest in Carvalho is becoming an increasing factor in his future, the player’s decision to switch representation is also understood to be delaying Fulham’s hopes of signing him to a fresh contract.
The youngster’s existing agreement with agency Unique Sports Management is due expire in January, and it is understood Carvalho will not even consider signing a new deal with Fulham until his new management team is in place.
That is of obvious concern to Fulham, who are understandably keen to tie Carvalho down to a new deal give he is out of contract in July.