[TRANSFER WATCH] Clint Dempsey has another year left on his contract with Fulham, but his current form -- a club record 16 EPL goals and 22 goals in all competitions -- has the British press abuzz about the chances of the Deuce moving in the offseason. The most tantalizing possibility is a move crosstown to Arsenal for what would surely be a record transfer fee for an American player.
Fulham manager Martin Jol insisted Dempsey would stick around Craven Cottage after his American had the tying goal in the Cottagers' 1-1 tie with Chelsea on Monday.
“Hopefully we will because he’s still here for next season as well, so we won’t sell him, so that is easy," the Dutch manager told Sky Sports.
After the Chelsea game, Jol praised Dempsey for his versatility: “You can play him on the left and he will score goals, you can play him up front, although it is not his favorite position, but on Saturday he held the ball up well [two goals in 3-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers] and today again, and if you get the delivery he’s one of the best I know.”
Dempsey's versatility makes him an attractive option for Arsenal. The Daily Mail reportedthat Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is contemplating a bid for the American after getting reports from his staff that "he would fit perfectly into the Gunners' system."
Arsenal has already wrapped up a deal for another versatile attacking player, FC Cologne's Lukas Podolski, but its needs will depend in large part on whether it can keep Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott.
Dempsey, who has also been linked to Manchester United and Tottenham, wants to concentrate on finishing out the current season before thinking about his future plans.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said after Saturday's win over Bolton. “Some of my best memories have been at Fulham. I still have this season and one more at the club. I’m talking with Fulham but we’ll see in the summer. I just want to focus on my football and helping the club finish in the top half. That other stuff can take care of itself.”
If Dempsey were to move this summer, the lucky winner would probably need to shell out at least $16 million.
The record transfer fee for an American is the estimated $10 million Spanish club Villarreal paid for Jozy Altidore when he left the New York Red Bulls in 2008.