West Ham are hopeful of beating Arsenal and Liverpool to the signature of Clint Dempsey, who is determined to leave Fulham before the start of the season according to manager Martin Jol.
By Jack Leather, Jamie Sanderson
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is on the lookout for more new players in the final stages of the transfer window, despite already bringing in James Collins, Alou Diarra, Mohamed Diame, Modibo Maiga and goalkeepers Jussi Jaaskelainen, Stephen Henderson and Raphael Spiegel this summer.
The club are still keen to add a true marquee signing though, and after missing out on an £18million deal for Liverpool striker Andy Carroll they now hope to mix with the big boys to try and land Fulham forward Dempsey.
Dempsey, who scored 23 goals last season and has a year left on his contract, had looked on the verge of a move to Liverpool but the switch never materialised.
And the prospect of the American saying his goodbyes look increasingly likely, as Jol – who has left out of his squad for tomorrow’s clash with Norwich – said: ‘Clint was not involved over the last four weeks so he is not going to be in the squad.
‘He is not committed to the club. He wants to leave. I would like to keep him, but I think it’s impossible. It’s a sad and an almost embarrassing situation.’
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said last month that he had made an inquiry for Dempsey, and a website belonging to Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group published a story claiming he was a Liverpool player.
Jol admitted on Friday he had not been amused by Liverpool’s actions.
‘That was very disappointing. There was never an offer,’ the Fulham manager claimed.
‘Clint himself told everyone he was going to Liverpool before he came back so we really thought there was quite a firm interest in him.
‘Even [Rodgers] told everyone he was interested in Clint Dempsey, but our people never had an offer on the table so it’s almost embarrassing.’
Dempsey, 29, has been training separately from his team-mates this summer, and Jol added: ‘I can assure you that our chairman is strong enough.
‘At first we didn’t want to get rid of him, later on we had to change our position.
‘But our view is that we won’t let Clint Dempsey go on the cheap, that’s for sure.’