31 August 2012
Dempsey's Wonder (game-winning) Goal vs. Juventus - Part of Fulham's Runner-Up Europa League Run in 2010
For weeks Dempsey was all but a lock to sign with Liverpool, as Merseyside fans were ready to embrace the American's goal-scoring touch. The prominent U.S. international, who spent the last 6 seasons at Fulham FC, was set to move up the ranks of English football, determined to call one of the English Premier League's "Big 6"- Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur- his new home. As his determination festered, Dempsey made it clear that he would not return to Craven Cottage, which alienated the Fulham community, most notably manager Martin Jol.
"There are always players in football like van Persie who want to move, but they keep quiet," Jol said last week. "This was different. Although we like to keep everything under the surface, it was impossible. Van Persie did the right thing. I always hope for players to keep a low profile and wait for what will happen. It's better for the manager and club."
With the manager clearly frustrated and the Liverpool rumors swirling about, the 29-year old playmaker did not even see the bench for Fulham's opening EPL matches, leaving Dempsey figuratively without a club even though he had one year remaining in his contract.
Despite the obvious momentum that was building throughout the week for Fulham and Dempsey to agree to terms with Liverpool, many pundits became worried about the lack of reports of an official offer from the Reds. Then once Sunderland surfaced as a surprising player in the Dempsey sweepstakes, a bigger question mark surrounded the type of offer Liverpool had put together for Clint's services. However, Sunderland was always an extreme long shot to acquire the American, who was keen on moving to a Champions League caliber side.
Then Friday, August 31st - deadline day - arrived, with Dempsey's end destination still in doubt, but the popular belief remained that American would ultimately arrive at Anfield to sign the paper work for a new deal. We all know now that things did not go exactly according to plan even with Liverpool receiving extra capital through the sales of Andy Carroll (loan to West Ham) and Charlie Adam (transfer to Stoke City). Over the course of the day Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur all made offers for the man who scored 17 EPL goals last campaign, and in the end it was Spurs who swooped in late and signed Clint Dempsey. Here is how it all played out according to USfutblog's Twitter account (@USfutblog) thanks to reports from Fox Soccer and Sky Sports....
8:06 am ET - Aston Villa joins race to sign Clint Dempsey, reportedly offered around £7M...Dempsey later rejects move
12:45 pm - Tottenham Hotspur makes a late bid for Clint Dempsey
2:08 pm - Fulham rejects a bid from Liverpool for Clint Dempsey
2:38 pm - Fulham rejects another Liverpool bid, in the neighborhood of £4M in addition to Liverpool players who refused to move to Fulham
3:40 pm - Dempsey's move to Liverpool falls apart
4:33 pm - Dempsey seen at Tottenham's training ground
4:36 pm - Fulham and Tottenham agree on Dempsey's transfer fee
4:59 pm - Clint Dempsey agrees to personal terms with Tottenham
5:03 pm - Clint Dempsey officially signs with Tottenham per Fox Soccer on a 3-year deal for a transfer fee of £6M
6:34 pm - Spurs officially announce Clint Dempsey signing
So, Clint Dempsey signed with Tottenham Hotspur what does this mean...
All the drama is FINALLY over. Dempsey got his wish, securing a move to one of England's elite clubs, but he will not receive the Champions League minutes he covets just yet. Spurs will not play Champions League football this season even though they qualified for a spot based on league play thanks to Chelsea's heroic title run in the tournament last campaign. Overall though Tottenham's high stature in English football represents an extremely exciting time for U.S. Soccer and obviously for Clint Dempsey, one in which I believe he will take full advantage of.
Based on Tottenham's tactics where will Dempsey play?
Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas, will deploy Dempsey in multiple roles - as a central attacking midfielder (CAM), a wing player, and possibly even as a striker in a two forward formation. Dempsey will predominately occupy the CAM role in a variation of a 4-3-3, sitting right behind Emanual Adebayor, and sandwiched between high fliers Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. This foursome presents a dynamic group of attacking weapons that the club can unleash on opponents this season. Their speed and creativity will result in plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the year, even against the toughest of defenses. Also, you can't forget that Spurs will have Moussa Dembele, another big signing from Fulham, in that midfield to help facilitate the offense. In conclusion, I believe this firepower will allow Spurs to finish in that all important 4th Champions League qualifying spot.
It wasn't exactly the smoothest transition to a top EPL club, but Dempsey did manage to make it happen, and at 29 it was pretty much a now or never situation for the American so it's exciting to see the deal get done. Now, we can sit back, relax, watch Dempsey in his new kit, and analyze his every move....can't wait!