With just over 48 hours of the transfer window remaining, the future of Clint Dempsey looks no closer to being resolved. The attacking midfielder has failed to feature for Fulham in their start to the Premier League season as manager Martin Jol has claimed that the United States international no longer wants to play for the club.
Liverpool have been strongly linked to Dempsey for much of the summer, but have yet to make an official bid. The situation became even more acrimonious last week when it was revealed that Fulham had reported Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to the Premier League over comments he made last month about his interest in Dempsey.
Having sold fellow-midfielder Moussa Dembele to Tottenham, Fulham will doubtless be loathed to lose another of their key performers before the close of the transfer window. However, faced with an unhappy 29-year-old who can leave for nothing next summer, Fulham may be forced to do business.
The next two days are also likely to be anxious ones for Dempsey. When last season ended with the Texan as the Premier League's highest scoring midfielder, a move to a bigger club seemed inevitable. Dempsey talked of fulfilling his ambition of playing in the Champions League and that appeared a realistic prospect.
But Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have shown no interest and brief speculation linking Dempsey to Arsenal looks unlikely to come to fruition. That has left Dempsey pining over a move to Liverpool; not a Champions League team, but a club that can offer prestige and perhaps the opportunity to play in Europe's premier competition down the road.
While there has yet to be a firm offer, Liverpool could well be biding their time in the hope of forcing Fulham into selling at a reduced price as the 11 p.m. BST deadline approaches on Friday.
Waiting in the wings, though, could well be Sunderland. The Daily Mail reported on Tuesday that the Wearsiders had opened talks with Dempsey, with Liverpool's pursuit having come to an end. Sunderland boss Martin O'Neil has been desperate to add goals to his side in recent weeks and has already spent big on striker Steven Fletcher from Wolves and former Manchester City winger Adam Johnson.
Although Sunderland will not have been the destination Dempsey had in mind when he signaled his intention to leave Fulham, he may have to settle for the move given the drastic unraveling of his relationship with Jol.