Aston Villa and Newcastle United interested in making bid for £10m-rated Fulham star Clint Dempsey

The west London club will hold out for seven-figure sum for versatile American forward, but he would prefer a move to the continent should he leave Craven Cottage
EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief correspondent

Aston Villa and Newcastle United are weighing up bids for Fulham forward Clint Dempsey, Goal.com can reveal.

The two Premier League clubs want to increase their attacking options before the end of the transfer window and have identified the versatile American as a key target.

They have expressed an interest in signing Dempsey but Fulham do not want to sell their key attacker and would demand at least £10 million for a player who is highly regarded at Craven Cottage and has two years remaining on his contract.

Goal.com understands that Fulham’s main priority between now and the end of the window is holding on to Dempsey, who was the club’s leading scorer last season with 13 goals, including 12 in the Premier League. He has already added another two in the Europa League this season.

Villa, who have sold Ashley Young and Stewart Downing this summer, are leading the race for the 28-year-old and Newcastle are also keen, although there are strong doubts as to whether owner Mike Ashley would sanction a bid that would meet Fulham’s valuation.

Liverpool and Everton also enquired about Dempsey earlier in the window although the interest from the two Merseyside clubs has cooled in recent weeks.

However, a source close to the player says the American is also open to leaving Fulham for a team on the continent and has aspirations to play in the Champions League. The Dempsey camp believe that an offer is more likely to materialise from outside of England.

“There has been lots of interest in Dempsey during the window, but Fulham will fight hard to keep him,” an insider told Goal.com. “He scores goals, he creates goals, he has a good injury record and he is a bit of a human dynamo. He had only a two or three week rest after the Gold Cup and was back playing for Fulham.”

Fulham manager Martin Jol does not want to lose Dempsey but has put out some feelers about attacking reinforcements in his native Holland.

Jol’s two main targets are FC Twente’s Bryan Ruiz and Ajax’s Mounir El Hamdouai, the Moroccan he signed when he was Tottenham manager.

Both players have been sounded out about their interest in moving to west London although the club’s £50,000-a-week wage ceiling is believed to be a major stumbling block.

Fulham also fear the two strikers are holding out for moves to Champions League calibre clubs who can offer bigger salaries and the possibilities of winning trophies.

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