Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Martin Jol determined to keep Tottenham target Mousa Dembele at Fulham


Fulham manager Martin Jol has warned his former club Tottenham that Mousa Dembele is not for sale.

The 24-year-old forward is understood to be a target for Spurs and said this week he regarded a potential move to White Hart Lane as a "step higher".

Dembele has since insisted he is happy at Craven Cottage and Jol, who was sacked by Spurs in 2007, maintains the Belgium international is going nowhere.

"Maybe someone told you about Tottenham, I don't know. But there is a lot of interest in good players, and I've got a few," said the Dutchman.

"It's up to us to keep them here, and that's what we're trying to do.

"I think Dembele could develop into one of the best. He's better on the ball than any other number 10s I know. The only step he has to take now is play more killer balls and finish.

"If he can do that more than he did before he will become a very good player for us.

"Dembele gives us an extra dimension. For me it's important I've got good payers. If they are better than average players it's only good for the club."

Jol is also keen to keep hold of striker Andrew Johnson, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to agree a new deal.

QPR are the latest club to be linked with a January move for the 30-year-old former England international, who has scored eight goals this season.

"There is no news," added Jol.

"There is always interest from other clubs but he is still under contract here until the end of the season - not January, the end of the season. That is the only thing we know for a fact and if something changes we will tell you."

Fulham head to Sunderland tomorrow with both teams hovering just a single point above the drop zone in the Barclays Premier League.

Their involvement in the Europa League means the Cottagers will be playing their 25th game of the season.

Sunderland, by contrast, have played just 12 but Jol is confident his side can get a positive result at the Stadium of Light.

"Sunderland are in a similar position to us," he said.

"So it's an important game for us and a very important game for them.

"They are pretty strong at home but over the last couple of games we have done well away from home so we will do everything to get the points on the board."

Jol will be without defender Stephen Kelly, who suffered a groin injury on Republic of Ireland duty, while midfielder Steven Sidwell is unlikely to play as he recovers from a minor hernia operation.