MARTIN JOL says he is mystified by Clint Dempsey's claims that he had to leave Fulham because he did not feel appreciated – saying he did everything he could to keep the USA striker.
Dempsey, Fulham's top scorer last season, had a very public falling out with Jol in the summer and effectively went on strike, according to the Whites boss, such was his desire to force a move.
But Jol says Dempsey's dissatisfaction was all his own making, and nothing to do with the way he was treated at the club.
It all adds spice to Dempsey's first return to Craven Cottage today (Saturday) with his new club Spurs, who he joined for £6m.
“I don't know why players do that, but maybe he wants to find a reason to explain why he moved,” said Jol. “But for me, the only reason was to go to a 'better club', so why not?
“I told him in our last conversation that I love him like a son, but he didn't care because he wanted to move.
“I don't think it was personal when he said he didn't feel appreciated. He wanted a financial move and he wanted to play Champions League. He said it several times.
“He told me he wanted to leave and there was no option. I tried to win him over again, and he said 'No, I don't want to talk.' I had to talk to him on the pitch instead of my office.
“I tried to convince him again, because you know how I rated him. I always said he was the best offensive midfielder. He scored more goals than anybody else.”
Jol has been in touch with Moussa Dembele since the midfielder's switch to White Hart Lane, but not Dempsey, and there is clearly still some anger at the way the Texan engineered his move away from the club.
“I never said that he refused to play, but he acted like a player who couldn't, and I couldn't involve him any more,” said the Fulham boss.
“He didn't want to talk, he didn't want to run. I said, 'If you don't want to do anything, I can't use you any more'. He came to me and literally said: 'You know what I want.'
“We went to Leipzig [pre-season] and he joined us a week later and I said: 'Clint, you have to move, you have to do something, or I can't take you' and he said 'you know what I want.' a second time.
“I can remember the first Premier League match we had weeks later, he wasn't involved, because I couldn't involve him.”
Jol added: “Sometimes you have to move on and I can understand. I was at Spurs, and I thought that's not a bad move for him.
“There was maybe a bit of hard feeling, but I can forgive him for that. He wanted to be appreciated financially and he wanted a bigger club – a Champions League club – and that is probably what he got with Spurs.”