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Dempsey, Fulham remain at impasse on Premier League eve

Fulham v Newcastle United - Premier League

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Clint Dempsey of Fulham in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on January 21, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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What an absolute mess this Clint Dempsey situation has devolved into at Fulham.

As the 2011-12 Premier League season ended, no one could sing loudly enough of Clint Dempsey’s praises. He came off a landmark 23-goal campaign a full-fledged Fulham hero. Where would the U.S. international land, we wondered?

Would such a campaign become a springboard for something more, for entrance into the bigger club that he so passionately sought? Or would be keep “bigger fish, smaller pond” status, sticking around Craven Cottage to become an even more beloved local legend?

Nobody thought of this as an outcome.

He’s in such a bad way now with Fulham manager Martin Jol as both sides have dug in. The relationship deteriorated to the point where Dempsey wasn’t with the club for a trip into Switzerland for pre-season training.

And now comes news this morning that Dempsey will not appear on Saturday’s game-day roster as Fulham opens against Norwich.

Liverpool has long been interested in the Texan; Roma and Tottenham, too, depending on which report you believe. But none have thought Fulham’s $14 million asking price is the right figure.

What Jol told reporters on Friday:

If we get the right price for Clint we will sell him. If not, he will stay. We want to keep him but it’s impossible because he wants to go. Clint wants to go to a Champions League club.”

Stay? Is that even an option at this point? What a shame it would be to watch Dempsey languish unhappily for a full year around Craven Cottage (or even for a few months before the winter transfer window opens).