Dempsey in talks over new Fulham deal
Published 22:30 08/03/12 By Neil McLeman
Fulham have opened talks over a new three-year contract with top scorer Clint Dempsey.
The American - who turns 29 on Friday - has scored 18 goals for his club this season and also grabbed the winner in his country's first ever victory over Italy last month.
Dempsey admitted during the January transfer window that he wants to play Champions League football before the end of his career.
His current deal runs out next year, but manager Martin Jol said he is confident Dempsey will stay longer.
"We are talking to him," said the Dutchman. "At any club, you want to keep your best players so that is what we try hard to do.
"If Clint Dempsey weren't here, we wouldn't be in this position because we have had to rely on him a lot of times to score goals.
"He is here for at least another year, so that is not a big problem. The problem is that we want to keep him here for longer. But the difference is not very big. He has 17 months left and we want to keep him here for the next three years.
"I hope the four or five players we are talking to will stay. I am confident they will. They realise it is a very good club."
Striker Andy Johnson and midfielder Danny Murphy, who are both out of contract this summer, have also been offered new deals.
However, loan star Pavel Pogrebnyak is no rush to agree a permanent move to the Cottagers after scoring five goals in his first three matches since joining from Stuttgart.
"I'm here for six months initially, and after that the club and I will see what can happen," said the Russian striker. "Right now I am only thinking about the present and the next game that comes."
Jol said: "We will be happy to wait until the end of the season... as long as he says yes!"