Arsenal to Make First Move for Fulham’s Dempsey: Soccer Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers with clickable Internet links.

Dempsey Move

Arsenal will make the first move in the race to sign Fulham’s Clint Dempsey and will target Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett if unsuccessful in its bid to acquire the U.S. international forward, the Sun reported.

Although Dempsey has scored 23 goals in a striking role for Fulham this season, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to play him behind Robin van Persie and Lukas Podolski, the Sun said.

Teenage Target

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is ready to fight Tottenham to sign Crewe’s 18-year-old attacking midfielder Nick Powell, the Daily Mirror reported.

Ferguson made a personal visit to watch Powell, who’s scored 15 goals for League Two playoff semifinalist Crewe this season, the Mirror said. Arsenal and Chelsea are also keen on the player, the newspaper added.

‘Desperate’ for Drogba

Frank Lampard called on Chelsea to keep Didier Drogba, who has been linked with a move to a Chinese club, after the Ivory Coast striker scored in the Blues’ F.A. Cup final win over Liverpool two days ago, the Guardian reported.

“I am desperate for him to stay,” the Guardian cited Lampard as saying. “He is a magnificent player. His body is a machine when you look at him stripped down. He’s lost no pace, he’s lost none of his finishing instinct.”

Chelsea has offered Drogba a 12-month contract extension, while he’s been promised 20 million pounds ($32.2 million) to move to China for the next two years, the Sun reported.

‘Big Low’

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said the club will invest in its squad in the offseason and re-emerge stronger after losing the F.A Cup final and struggling in the Premier League, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“We will bounce back,” the newspaper cited Gerrard as saying. “We will strengthen in the summer and we will come back and fight again. That’s what this club does. All through my career it’s been about highs and lows. This is a big low.”

Dalglish Doubt

Liverpool’s defeat in the final increased the scrutiny on Kenny Dalglish and put his future as manager in doubt, the Daily Express reported.

John W. Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner, and managing director Ian Ayre refused to take questions about Dalglish’s position following the 2-1 loss to Chelsea, the newspaper added.

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