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Martin Jol insists there was nothing he could have done to persuade Clint Dempsey to stay at Fulham and even told the American he loved him before his summer departure.

Last season was the most successful season of the 29-year-old’s career, yet he made no attempt to hide his desire to leave Craven Cottage.

With less than a year left on his contract, Fulham eventually sold Dempsey to Tottenham on transfer deadline day after a period of speculation that unsettled the midfielder.

This week Dempsey intimated he could have stayed had he felt more “valued and appreciated”, but Jol laughed off those comments ahead of his return to west London on Saturday.

“We did everything we could do so there are no regrets,” Jol said.

“He wanted to be appreciated financially and he wanted a bigger club, a Champions League club, and that is what he probably got with Spurs.

“He didn’t feel appreciated financially, but I am not the one deciding over the contracts.

“He said it time after time again that he wanted to go to a Champions League club.

“Even when I said in my last conversation with him that I loved him, it was not good enough to keep him here.”

Asked if there was anything Fulham could have done to get make him stay, Jol shook his head and said: “No, no.

“You know what he wanted. He wanted to go to a Champions League club.

“If you feel appreciated, you would like maybe to stay at Fulham so there is a contradiction there.

“I think he felt loved but he still wanted to move, but of course I understand what he means.

“From the first day he came back from holiday he didn’t want to play here. He wanted to move so of course you can force the issue and then come up with things.

“But hopefully he will get over it and hopefully he will feel loved at Spurs.”