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UPDATED: Tuesday, 3:15 p.m. ET
Arsenal has a realistic chance of signing Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey as the team desperately searches for valuable players as the transfer window comes to a close.
A source close to the player told Goal.com that Arsenal will acquire Dempsey within the next 48 hours as long as Fulham does not set the price too high.
"The deal seems like a very real possibility, but will come down to how quickly the two sides can agree on the selling price," the source said.
Fulham does not want to sell the club's key attacker but privately accepts that it will be unable to fend off Arsenal if the north Londoners match the value of $16.3 million for the American, who is highly regarded at Craven Cottage and has two years remaining on his contract.
The Gunners made their initial move for Dempsey before Sunday's 8-2 humiliation at Manchester United after Arsene Wenger identified the American's versatility and experience as qualities that can improve his threadbare squad.
Sources close to Dempsey say he has aspirations to play in the Champions League after joining Fulham from Major League Soccer in January 2007.
Dempsey was the Fulham'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 and scored in his team's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United on Sunday.
With the team's lack of depth, while playing in two league, Fulham may have no choice but to keep Dempsey, who has established a fine reputation in England as a durable attacking midfielder and can play anywhere behind the main striker and create.
“The Premier League is one of the toughest competitions in the world,” Dempsey told Goal.com. “Add onto that the Europa League and you’ve got to have squad depth if you’re going to be successful in both.”
Fulham coach Martin Jol is ready to make a late move for FC Twente's Bryan Ruiz if he loses Dempsey. The 26-year-old Costa Rican has been closely tracked by Fulham during the window and has admitted that he is open to a move to England.