Clint Dempsey, if reports from ESPN late Friday afternoon are to believed, is close to a transfer from Tottenham to the Seattle Sounders. This all started Thursday night and appeared one big case of Internet trolling, but now seems close to becoming a reality. There were reports (well one brief line in an English paper) earlier this summer that Spurs were shopping the 30-year-old, but to think his destination would be MLS on the brink of a World Cup year likely didn’t cross anybody’s mind at the time.
Here’s the ESPN’s report:
The Seattle Sounders and Tottenham Hotspur are finalizing the transfer of U.S. national team star Clint Dempsey, who is expected to be introduced as the newest Sounder as early as Saturday, multiple sources told ESPNFC.com.
No other details –- including the transfer fee Sounders FC paid Spurs to acquire the 30-year-old forward/midfielder’s rights — were provided.
Obviously this is an eyebrow raiser, again, namely for the destination. Dempsey didn’t exactly have a position in Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas preferred 4-3-3 system. The Texan isn’t quite an out-and-out striker, nor is he quite an attacking midfielder or winger. Instead he’s somewhere in the middle and out of place at White Hart Lane. With only one year left on his deal, there wasn’t much of a future for Dempsey.
This is a coup, if true, for MLS since the league gets one of the most recognizable American players toward the end of his prime. Dempsey played for the New England Revolution from 2004-06 before moving to Fulham, where he enjoyed five years of success and played in a Europa League final. Expect Dempsey to draw a large salary under the league’s designated player rules.
Dempsey instantly gives MLS another marketable name to go along with Landon Donovan.
Still, this is a big step down for Dempsey from an outsider perspective. Last summer he stated his reason for leaving Craven Cottage was an ambition to play at a “big” club and in the Champions League. (Didn’t quite happen for him with Spurs choking down the stretch and finishing fifth in the EPL table.) Now if he wanted to stay in England, where’s he going to go? Everton or another club outside the “Big Four”? It leaves him in the same boat, fighting for a spot in the starting XI and on the outside, looking-in on the Champions League.
After a protracted potential move to Liverpool last summer fell through, Dempsey wound up at Tottenham on the final day of the August transfer window. Dempsey had a solid season with Spurs, although wasn’t an automatic starter with seven goals in 28 appearances. He even got another taste of Europa League action!
This shouldn’t do much to affect Dempsey’s value for the National Team. He’s spent nearly six seasons playing in the Premier League. Another year in England, fighting to get games isn’t going to make that big of a difference for him either toward the good or bad, unless he decides at the last minute he wants to go surfing in Cambodia. If anything worry about the impact playing on artificial turf will have on him going into the World Cup..