Fulham have turned down an offer thought to be worth £10m from Tottenham for striker Moussa Dembele -- but a transfer could still be completed with a player-plus-cash deal involving Robbie Keane.
The rejection of the bid pre-dates the appointment of Martin Jol, although Dembele was the first player that the new Fulham manager mentioned yesterday when he spoke of his desire to work with the present squad.
"I know a lot about the squad I inherited," Jol said. "I enjoy watching players like Moussa Dembele, who I have known for a while."
Spurs failed in a deadline-day bid for Dembele in January and are understood to have increased substantially their offer for the 23-year-old Belgian international.
Dembele has made a big impact, despite injury setbacks, on the Premier League since he arrived from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar last summer for a fee believed to be just under £5m. Fulham snatched Dembele from under the noses of Birmingham City, who thought he was joining them.
Spurs are understood to have offered a straight cash deal for Dembele, with manager Harry Redknapp desperate to strengthen his striking options.
Given the good times that Ireland striker Keane had at Spurs under Jol, it may well be that the club will try to tempt Fulham again with a player-plus-cash deal.
But Fulham have shown little interest in Keane in the past -- having been offered the 30-year-old striker previously -- and Tottenham's demand for a £6m fee on top of the striker's £65,000-a-week wages will be prohibitive.
Spurs are closely tracking Espanyol striker Pablo Osvaldo, who was also a target for Fulham when Mark Hughes was manager. But the Spanish club's demands were thought to be too high for Fulham.
Spurs have also been strongly linked with Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao (21), who plays for Internacional, a club with whom there is an affiliation agreement, although it is thought an opening bid had been rejected. Midfielder Sandro arrived at Spurs from the Brazilian side.
At the same time Spurs, who want to sign midfielder Scott Parker from relegated West Ham, are hoping to sell the likes of Sebastien Bassong, Wilson Palacios, Alan Hutton and, above all, David Bentley.
Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce is hoping to make Kevin Nolan and DJ Campbell his first signings at West Ham.
Allardyce managed the goal-scoring midfielder at Bolton and made him his first signing at Newcastle back in 2007, while striker Campbell impressed with his goals for Blackpool last season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)