Why Fulham fans should make peace with Dempsey transfer talk
Martin Jol’s candid admission that Fulham’s future is as a selling club has proved as popular with Cottagers fans as that Michael Jackson statue outside Craven Cottage.
They fear Jol is going wacko and will preside over a summer auction of the likes of Clint Dempsey, Brede Hangeland and Mousa Dembele.
They point to his ‘previous’ with Tottenham when Spurs sold Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov during his tenure to increase the quality of players under Sir Alex Ferguson’s control at Manchester United.
But if the Fulham faithful simply calm down, they might realise that Jol is just telling it how it is now down by the Thames.
Supporters can’t expect sugar-daddy Mohamed Al Fayed to bankroll them indefinitely – and up to last year he had pumped £187million into the club in interest-free loans.
As is the case with more and more Premier League clubs, Fulham are going to have to pay their way.
This is nothing new, and for all the dosh Fulham have spent during their years in the top flight, they have still sold their best players.
Their opponents here on Monday night have cherry-picked several of their finest, going back to Louis Saha in 2004 and Edwin van der Sar in 2005.
Then Chris Smalling swapped his white shirt to become a Red Devil in 2010.
This policy need not be the disaster Fulham supporters fear - Newcastle have thrived this season cashing in on their best players.
The trick is having a manager with an eye for talent who can replace these big names with less expensive recruits.
And Jol has already shown at the Cottage that he possesses that quality.
When the club sold Bobby Zamora to QPR for £6m, he replaced him with Stuttgart outcast Pavel Pogrebnyak, signing the Russian striker on loan.
Pogrebnyak has proved a real bargain find, scoring five goals in his first three appearances.
However, Fulham’s star man this season has been top scorer Dempsey and the USA international stuck a few more quid on his soaring value here.
He refused to be intimidated by United and tested David De Gea with a couple of early shots.
Dempsey is already being eyed up on the back of his best-ever campaign and will have no shortage of high-class suitors this summer.
If the striker is sold, his fee will be used to balance the books, and Jol will try to unearth another nugget like Pogrebnyak – and so on it goes.