Martin Jol plays down speculation linking Fulham's Clint Dempsey with Liverpool transfer


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The Independent Football

Fulham manager Martin Jol today dismissed speculation linking Clint Dempsey with a move to Liverpool and remains hopeful the American will sign a new deal at Craven Cottage.

The 29-year-old has scored 22 goals this season and is one of the main reasons the west Londoners are sitting ninth in the Barclays Premier League.

Such form, coupled with the fact his contract expires next summer, has seen Dempsey linked with a number of clubs from across Europe.

Liverpool have been mooted as a potential destination and such speculation was stoked by Reds chairman Tom Werner, who yesterday expressed his admiration for the United States international.

However, Jol insists he has no intention of letting the attacking midfielder leave and hopes to instead sign him up to a new deal.

"As you know we talked to him and hopefully he will sign a contract to keep him here for the next three years," the Dutchman said, speaking ahead of Sunday's clash with Sunderland.

"If not, he's still our player because there is no club that has made an approach for him. Of course it's nice if they are positive about him.

"I'm very positive about a few Liverpool players because I like them a lot but it doesn't mean we can afford to buy them."

Asked if Werner's comments bothered him, Jol added: "If a manager does that it's different because it's a tap-up but if it's an owner, he probably doesn't know about the rules and agreements. I'm not bothered about it."

Dempsey is one of a number of players Fulham are currently in negotiations with and Jol revealed that in the "next week or so" they hope to finalise a deal with Pavel Pogrebnyak to keep him past the summer.

The Russia international's arrival from Stuttgart during the January transfer window coincided with an upturn in fortunes by the banks of Thames.

The Cottagers' impressive run has catapulted them up the table and saw them secure a first league win at Anfield on Tuesday, with Martin Skrtel's own goal proving decisive.

Jol missed the 1-0 win against Liverpool with a chest infection that also ruled him out of last weekend's defeat at Everton, but, while sounding hoarse, insists he is feeling better.

"It took a bit longer than I thought," he said.

"I had quite an infection in my chest and was not allowed to travel. It was quite contagious as well but I feel better now.

"Tuesday night I had my computer and television so I had two screens and I saw the match. I kept in touch with the staff and players.

"We had to celebrate at home instead of at the stadium. I was on antibiotics so I couldn't drink."

The victory came hours after former Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was unveiled as the new England boss.

Reports today emanated suggesting Hodgson wants to bring the Whites' head of coaching, Ray Lewington, in as part of his backroom staff, initially to help at Euro 2012.

On the speculation, Jol said: "We haven't (got any news on that) but, as you know, he worked with Ray before when he was at this club.

"I imagine they built a very good combination so it is not unthinkable that he will ask him to do something at the European Championship.

"It would be great for the club and for Ray to do a tournament.

"It is not a couple of years, it is a couple of weeks and I think he would love to do it and for us it wouldn't be a problem for us."

Asked whether his stance would change if it was a longer-term role, he added: "We haven't heard of it so I can't tell you.

"If they do get in touch with us, we would be positive about it if it was a few weeks.

"If it was longer, then you get a different conversation."