Dempsey: I want Champions League

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Clint Dempsey of Fulham puts his thumbs up during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Sunderland at Craven Cottage on May 6, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Clint Dempsey has thrown open the auction for his own head with a revelation that he would like to be playing Champions League football, thus confirming that his summer departure from Craven Cottage is all but guaranteed.

The 29 year-old has been in fine form for Fulham over the past three years, but his role in the team has become increasingly vital, culminating in last year's goal tally of 23 goals in all competitions - all despite the fact he plies his trade mostly from midfield. As such, Martin Jol has relied heavily on Dempsey for goals and the revelation that the American wants to leave will hit Fulham hard.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine, he expressed his gratitude towards Fulham and all they have done for him personally, but appeared to set his departure in stone.

"I am grateful for everything Fulham have done for me," said Dempsey. "Some of the best memories I have in soccer have been there, but the fact remains that I want to play in Champions League. I want to play at the highest level possible"

Arsenal are still regarded front runners for his signature, and the lure of European football at the Emirates could well prove too much to bare for the American. The only certainty, though, seems to be his farewell to SW6.

"I want to do as much as I can in my career and look back and say I made the most of all the opportunities I have had.

"I am always going to want to play in Champions League.

"It is something I have never done. I would like to test myself at that level. That way I can look back and say, 'Hey, I gave it a go. Either I was good enough or I wasn't good enough'"

And just to affirm things, when speaking to FoxSoccer, the USA international opened the door to any potential bids: "If teams are really interested, they need to put their money with their mouth is and make an offer."

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