Friday Kickoff: Dempsey out for opener, Van Persie signs for four years & more

Friday Kickoff: Dempsey out for opener, Van Persie signs for four years & more

European Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Dempsey out for opener, Van Persie signs for four years & more

Dempsey (Getty Images)

On the eve of the 2012-13 Premier League season, Clint Dempsey remains in club limbo. 

Fulham manager Martin announced that Dempsey, the club's leading scorer last season, will not be part of Fulham's matchday roster for Saturday's season opener against Norwich City while also confirming that Dempsey wants to leave Craven Cottage.

That Dempsey won't be part of the club's season opener is not all that surprising considering that he was left out of the first-team's preseason trip to Switzerland and was training with the club's youth teams to try and stay fit. He is entering the final year of his contract with Fulham, which run the risk of losing him for nothing if they do not meet his wishes to be transferred. The summer transfer window closes in two weeks.

"Clint was not involved over the last four weeks so he is not going to be in the squad," Jol said, according to Sky Sports. "He is not committed to the club. He wants to leave. I would like to keep him, but I think it's impossible. It's a sad and an almost embarrassing situation."

The latest development is the first instance at which Fulham have appeared open to selling Dempsey. They had previously claimed that they have no intentions of selling their top attacking asset and that they had not received any official offers for him in the transfer market.

Here are a few more stories to kick off your Friday:

VAN PERSIE SIGNS FOUR-YEAR DEAL

After moving to Manchester United from Arsenal on a £24 million transfer, reigning Premier League golden boot winner Robin Van Persie signed a four-year deal with the club, that paves the way for him to accompany the Red Devils for their season opener and play against Tim Howard and Everton on Monday.

The deal ensures Van Persie's place at Old Trafford until 2016, as he and Wayne Rooney, whose 27 league goals were second-most to Van Persie's 30 last season, will have plenty of time to acclimate with one another and comprise — on paper — one of the most lethal forward partnerships in the world. 

With Van Persie's departure, Arsenal named Belgian centerback Thomas Vermaelen its new captain, replacing the leadership void left by the departed Dutch striker.

FA FINES FERDINAND

Rio Ferdinand's racially insensitive comments on Twitter have cost him a pretty pound.

The FA fined the Manchester United centerback £45,000 for his remarks made in July after an independent commission found that "the comment was improper and brought the game into disrepute. In addition, the Commission found that the breach included a reference to ethnic origin, colour or race."

Ferdinand used the term "choc ice" in a tweet to Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, a slang term meaning that he was black on the outside and white on the inside, after Cole testified on behalf of John Terry in his defense case against Ferdinand's brother, QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

SOUTHAMPTON SIGNS RAMIREZ

After turning down Tottenham because of a disagreement over weekly wages, Uruguayan midfielder and Olympian Gaston Ramirez appears headed to Southampton.

The newly promoted Premier League side reportedly spent a club-record £11.8 million to sign the 21-year-old Ramirez away from Bologna, where he was a former teammate of Montreal Impact striker Marco Di Vaio. Last season, Ramirez scored eight goals in 33 matches.

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What's your take on the latest involving Dempsey? Do you see the Rooney-Van Persie partnership working for Manchester United? What do you make of the FA's punishment for Ferdinand? Do you think Southampton will be strong enough to stay up in the Premier League after this season?

Share your thoughts below.

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