[AMERICANS ABROAD] Fulham manager Martin Jol backtracked a bit on his criticism of U.S. star Clint Dempsey, who wants out at Craven Cottage. Jol, who admitted he was a bit harsh, could afford to be in a conciliatory mood on Saturday. Fulham opened the 2012-13 season with a 5-0
win over Norwich City.
“To say he refused to play is probably a bit harsh," said Jol, "but he wanted to move and if you want to move, you don’t want to take risks so you don’t want to play in case you get an injury. So for me that was a very awkward situation and it was for him as well.”
Jol added that what made the situation particularly awkward was Fulham had received no offers for Dempsey.
The Dutchman came to Dempsey's defense after Fulham fans celebrated the fifth goal against Norwich by chanting, "Are you watching, Clint Dempsey?"
"I don't want to hear the fans were chanting against him because he was a terrific player for us," Jol said. "He was the most productive midfield player in the whole league last season."
Jol held out hope Dempsey would return for the final year of his contract.
"Hopefully he will play for us again," the Fulham manager added. "There is one season to go, and no one has come in for him."
Dempsey had previously stated he wanted to move to a team that will play in the Champions League, but he finds himself trying to move during one of the most depressed periods on the international transfer market in recent years.
Many clubs are trying to unload players with big contracts but not are getting any takers or potential buyers are holding out to see how low sellers will go.
EPL clubs mentioned as possible destinations for Dempsey have included Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool, but they have all been making other moves in recent weeks.
Everton signed Belgium forward Kevin Mirallas from Greece's Olympiakos on Sunday.