Veteran duo and Dempsey’s Fulham futures in doubt
An impressive ninth-place finish in his first season at Fulham might not be enough to spare Martin Jol from a summer of rebuilding at Craven Cottage.
Versatile American Clint Dempsey, one of the most impressive Premier League performers last term, is rumoured to have attracted the interest of Manchester United and Arsenal and has hinted that he would find either hard to turn down.
He said: “I am grateful for everything Fulham have done for me, some of the best memories I have in soccer have been there, but the fact remains that I want to play in the Champions League. I want to play at the highest level possible.
“I want to do as much as I can in my career and look back and say I made the most of all the opportunities I have had. I am always going to want to play in the Champions League.”
And deciding whether or not to grant his wish should substantial offers come in doesn’t look like being the only difficult call for Jol to make over the next few weeks.
Friday’s publication of the Premier League free transfer list served as a reminder that the futures of club captain Danny Murphy, injury-prone forward Andy Johnson and shrewd January addition Pavel Pogrebnyak are all up in the air.
It wouldn’t be a huge shock if the Cottagers opt to let Johnson leave, given that he didn’t score a domestic goal in 2011/12 either side of his hat-trick in the 6-0 thrashing of QPR back in October, and has started just 65 league games in four years.
Murphy, although approaching the end of his career at 35, was selected for 33 of their Premier League fixtures and as their skipper would be a bigger loss, with plenty of bottom-half teams sure to be tracking developments.
Pogrebnyak’s position is less clear, with his winter arrival form Stuttgart thought to have been on either a loan or a short-term contract, meaning they are vulnerable to losing him, even more so because he is in Russia’s Euro 2012 squad.
However many of the trio depart, Fulham are expected to survive comfortably in the upcoming campaign, with odds of 14/1 offered on them being relegated.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.