Arsenal set to steal Dempsey from Liverpool

Wenger keen to play him behind Van Persie and Podolski

Arsene Wenger is making a move for Fulham striker Clint Dempsey who became the first American to score 50 goals in the English Premier League.

Dempsey has been the standout performer for Fulham this season scoring 23 goals and was linked with a move to Liverpool earlier in the week after their chairman, Tom Werner, claimed any club would be lucky to have him.

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But Arsenal are poised to win the race for the Fulham frontman with Wenger keen to play him behind Robin van Persie and Lukas Podolski, The Sun reported in an exclusive.

Dempsey's contract expires next summer and the Cottagers’ have offered the USA international striker a new three-year deal.

Arsenal also have 21-year-old Blackburn striker Junior Hoilett in mind if they fail to land Dempsey.

Dempsey strikes in Fulham win

American forward Clint Dempsey scored the 50th goal of his Premier League career to help Fulham to a 2-1 victory over Sunderland at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Dempsey scored his 23rd goal of the season with a superbly-taken free kick in the 22nd minute.

Defender Philip Bardsley leveled for Sunderland in the 34th with a shot from the edge of the area but Mousa Dembele restored Fulham's lead just a minute later with a deflected drive which found the top corner.

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The introduction of substitutes Nicklas Bendtner and Frazier Campbell saw Sunderland end on a high but the visitors could not find a way past Fulham, which secured its fifth win in seven games.

The run leaves the west London side with a record-equaling seventh-place finish within reach. Currently eighth, it is a point behind Everton.

Why Dempsey is Arsenal's Van Persie back-up

While the battle for pride, Champions League slots and survival rage on in the Barclays English Premier League, it might be worth noting some end-of-season gems that will spark a twist or two to the transfer market.

Hatem Ben Arfa at Newcastle (among others there).

And surely, now Clint Dempsey of Fulham. With his 21 goals in all competitions and 15 in the league, Dempsey a Fulham soldier for so long now, might finally be headed to “the big time.”

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And word on the web, if not at the Emirates, is that Arsene Wenger will be first in line at Craven Cottage should Dempsey say no to Martin Jol’s promised “bumper offer” for him to stay.

Wenger might also be bearing in mind that his own Robin Van Persie might be on a few shopping lists in Europe and Dempsey might be the low-cost 10 million (relative) answer to Arsenal’s forward move for cup and league success again.

Van Persie may be thanking his stars he did not stoke the Manchester City flames any more and might well stay at the resurgent Arsenal, but even then, Dempsey might be the kind of bench strength Arsenal need to gun down troublesome teams like QPR, or Stoke.

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The American is in no hurry to decide his future club.

Dempsey, 29, signed from New England Revolution in 2007, has already broken Brian McBride’s 36-goal record as all-time American top scorer in the Premier League.

Apart from Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United are also eyeing the £10 million-rated ace who has just 16 months left on his contract, according to reports in the British press.


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