Fulham has complained about Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to the Premier League over the club's pursuit of striker Clint Dempsey.
The U.S. international has been linked with a move to Liverpool throughout the off season, and Rodgers was quoted as saying "Clint is a player we've inquired about" on the website of Liverpool's owners. The website also wrongly claimed last month that Dempsey had moved to Anfield.
The English Premier League said on Thursday that it has received a complaint from Fulham "regarding certain comments made by Liverpool FC officials and is currently looking into the matter." Dempsey has reportedly refused to play for Fulham and is seeking a move to Liverpool. He's been looking for a transfer, but is in limbo because no official bid has been lodged.
Fearing that Fulham's prized asset has been distracted and isn't ready to play, manager Martin Jol dropped him for the 5-0 victory against Norwich last weekend and will omit him from Saturday's squad to face Manchester United.
"Mentally, Clint wants to move, he doesn't want to stay here. His head was turned and that was the problem," Jol said on Thursday.
"It's a problem and a situation you don't want. It's not something you can talk to a player about every day because he doesn't want to," he said. "I don't know if he'll remain a Fulham player. I'd love to keep him, but I'm not sure. Hopefully if he stays, then in the next couple of weeks he will change his thoughts about us."
Jol denied that Dempsey had refused to play for Fulham again, instead insisting it was his decision to drop the 29-year-old player who has entered the final year of his contract.
"I was probably a bit naive, asking, 'Clint, do you want to start?"' Jol said. "All he said was, 'You know what I want' ... after that it was very difficult to communicate. He was not committed to the team. For us it would have been better had Liverpool followed it up with a formal bid, but they haven't."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now