After the feverish midweek tabloid tittle-tattle, it appears as though there’s plenty of steel to Fulham’s stance over Clint Dempsey’s future.
The redtops and the broadsheets appear united in reporting that Martin Jol is determined to hold onto the American midfielder. The Sunday Times’ Jonathan Northcroft has filed a piece for the paper’s football shorts scotching any suggestions of a swap deal involving Andy Carroll and claiming that ‘Jol wants to retain the American and unite him with Carroll in a new look Fulham attack alongside recent signing Hugo Rodallega’.
The picture is complicated by two things. Dempsey has a year left on his current contract and his intimated that he would like his next contract to be a long-term deal, stretching to four years. The ambitious Texan has never hidden his desire to test himself at the highest level possible, but a move to Liverpool would not realise his ambition to play in the Champions’ League. Furthermore, Fulham value Dempsey, who would be an attractive signing for John W. Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, at around £10m following his 23 goals last season, a fee that would be at least £2m above what Liverpool are currently prepared to pay. There have been no official approaches for the 29 year-old, who flew to Germany for Fulham’s pre-season tour on Friday.
Carroll’s intentions are also unknown. There is not likely to be a place for him in Rodgers’ remodelled Liverpool side, with a more European 4-3-3 system similar to one that brought such success during Swansea’s first season in the top flight designed to bring the best of Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini, although the England striker is still on an extended holiday after Euro 2012 and won’t be back with Liverpool until he joins their American tour on Monday week. Getting rid of a 23 year-old international striker, rumoured to be on £80,000 until 2016, will be easier said than done as Carroll is reportedly unlikely to be interested in a loan move.