Hard to say if we have some “walking back” going on here, or if we just never quite knew the truth about Clint Dempsey and the origins of his recently strained relationship with Fulham FC.
This is all quite murky; it’s impossible for anyone not in the Fulham front office to know the full story.
Dempsey has insinuated that a legitimate offer for a transfer into an elevated club was on the table. Probably from Liverpool, but who really knows?
Fulham manager Martin Jol has hinted otherwise. Well, actually, he has come right out and said so. Either way, Jol offered something of an olive branch to his 23-goal scorer of last year, Dempsey, who so desperately desires that transfer into a larger club.
Either way, Dempsey has refused to play. Myself and others have written that Dempsey is essentially “on strike.” Fans must have thought so; formerly beloved, Dempsey’s popularity around the Fulham grounds has taken a punch in the face. Toward the end of Saturday’s season opener, Craven Cottage echoed with chants of “Are you watching, Clint Dempsey?”
What Jol said over the weekend, following his team’s surprising 5-0 win to open English Premiership play:
To say he refused to play is probably a bit harsh, 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.”
As for the growing fan enmity? This is where Jol actually sought to protect his player — if we can still call him that.
I don’t want to hear the fans were chanting against him because he was a terrific player for us. He was the most productive midfield player in the whole league last season.”
Hopefully he will play for us again. There is one season to go, and no one has come in for him.”
England’s transfer window closes in seven days.