Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey has pulled out of Fulham’s pre-season training camp in Switzerland to try and force through a move to Liverpool.
Sources have told Goal.com that Dempsey told manager Martin Jol last Friday that he did not want to take part in the week-long trip.
It is understood the player and the manager had a heated debate at the training ground but Jol reluctantly accepted Dempsey’s demand and the attacking midfielder was left behind to train with the youngsters in London as the first-team squad flew overseas on Monday morning.
Fulham will spend the week in Switzerland ahead of a friendly in neighbouring France against Nice on Saturday before returning to the UK.
Dempsey has raised the stakes in his battle to quit the club as he becomes the latest high profile Premier League player to pull out of a pre-season tour, following in the wake of Robin van Persie at Arsenal and Luka Modric at Tottenham.
The 29-year-old has made it clear to Jol and senior Fulham figures that he wants to quit the club for Liverpool, whose manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that he has made enquiries about signing the player.
As revealed by Goal.com earlier this month, the attacking midfielder, who scored 17 Premier League goals last season and 23 in all competitions, has rejected Fulham’s offer of a new three year-contract that includes an option for a fourth year.
Dempsey, who moved to west London five-and-a-half years ago, believes that Liverpool’s interest could be the last opportunity he gets to play for one of the elite Premier League clubs.
Nevertheless, he has vowed to remain professional while his future remains in doubt and trained with Fulham’s youth team at their Motspur Park base on Monday morning along with Dickson Etuhu, who has been told by Jol that he can find another club. New signing Hugo Rodallega has also been left behind in London to recover from injury.
Despite Dempsey’s desire to quit Fulham, Liverpool have not yet made a formal offer for the USA international and, indeed, are not expected to try and sign him until Andy Carroll’s future is resolved.
Fulham value Dempsey at £9 million but a combination of his age – 29 – and his contract situation – he has just entered the final year of his current deal – mean that they will settle for a fee of around £5-6m
Liverpool need to free up some cash before moving formally for Dempsey, given that they have already signed Fabio Borini in a deal worth £11.2m and are also strongly pursuing Swansea midfielder Joe Allen.
Fulham do not want to lose their free-scoring midfielder but also will do their best to avoid a protracted saga, so they have enough time to bring in a replacement.