5 English Premier League Teams That Should Be Vying for Clint Dempsey
The day after winning the United States Soccer Federation’s men’s Athlete of the Year award, Clint Dempsey recorded the first hat trick by an American in the English Premier League.
Fulham came from behind in the second half to defeat Newcastle United 5-2 on Saturday. Dempsey’s hat trick, his second since moving to the EPL in 2007, came two weeks after scoring his first against Charlton Athletic in the Football Association Cup.
The Texan has a career-best 15 goals this season, two more than his previous best set last year.
In December, Dempsey passed former US international Brian McBride to become the highest-scoring American in EPL history.
In the past, Dempsey has made it clear that he has ambitions of playing regular Champions League football. His contract with Fulham has 18 months remaining and I would be very surprised if the Cottagers let him walk while receiving nothing in return.
Here are five teams that should be vying for Dempsey’s services before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
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Villa has been linked to Dempsey in the past and is reportedly after him again.
Villa owner Randy Lerner, an American businessman, showed last year he is willing to spend to improve the club after he brought striker Darren Bent from Sunderland.
Alex McLeish, Villa manager, may have a void in the midfield if Queens Park Rangers are indeed interested in the services of Stephen Ireland.
This move is not likely because Dempsey has expressed his desire to play for a Champions League club, and moving to Villa would be a lateral move from Craven Cottage.
Queens Park Rangers
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The club sits just two points about the relegation zone. Rumors from this transfer period have linked QPR to Christopher Samba, Didier Drogba and Tim Cahill, to name a few, which indicate the club is serious about staying in the Premier League.
QPR has most recently expressed interest in Dempsey. This does not come as much of a surprise because former Fulham manager Mark Hughes was appointed to the same position with QPR.
Hughes managed Dempsey for a year while at Fulham and is well aware of the benefits he could offer to the club.
Because Dempsey is not getting any younger and has dreams of playing regular Champions League football, I’m not convinced this transfer would work out.
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Kenny Dalglish threatened over the weekend to axe players who did not put forth the effort he deems necessary of his team.
Striker Luis Suarez is suspended until early- to mid-February and target man Andy Carroll has not lived up to the high expectations that The Reds had for him when they signed a record transfer sheet for an English player last January. To make matters worse, Dutch international forward Dirk Kuyt has yet to find the back of the net this season.
Dempsey, who has had to prove himself time and again at Fulham, would give Dalglish the effort he requires of his players and give a much needed boost to Liverpool’s sputtering attack.
While the club currently sits at seventh in the Premier League Table, they are not far from contending for a spot in the Champions League down the road.
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Having already signed Gary Cahill from Bolton to play alongside England captain John Terry at center-back, adding Dempsey could enhance a Chelsea attack which has seen high-profile players Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba struggle to find form this season.
Torres is not expected to leave Stamford Bridge anytime soon, but with just three goals since joining the club a year ago on a record transfer, rumors have circled.
Drogba, who is currently representing the Ivory Coast at the Africa Nations Cup, turned down a one year contract extension with Chelsea. He said he will not leave the club before the transfer window opens in June and his agent said he will sign with the club that offers him the most lucrative contract.
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Arsene Wenger mentioned earlier this season that he would consider adding a striker to compliment Robin van Persie.
The Dutch international striker is fully entrenched as the number one option for the Gunners, and deservedly so, as he has shouldered much of the load for the club this season. Van Persie has been injury-prone throughout his career though, and without a reliable second choice at striker, Wenger must be careful with him.
The versatile Dempsey can play on the wing, in an attacking midfielder position or up top as a striker. Wenger could use him to rest van Persie or play them next to each other.
Currently sitting only five points behind Chelsea for the Champions League qualifying spot, Arsenal still has time to catch The Blues.