Transfer Rumors: Where Will Clint Dempsey End Up Next Season?
The word is out: Clint Dempsey is a must-have. After scoring a remarkable 21 goals in all appearances this year, the American forward now lies atop multiple prestigious English clubs’ wish lists for the summer transfer market. His versatility, experience and incredible eye for goal has helped him put forth a career season, a season good enough to help his dream of playing UCL football and earn him a new paycheck.
With only one year left on his contract, there will be a lot of transfer talk surrounding the Texan this summer. Let us look at the possible contenders for his signature.
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Liverpool have been looking at the American forward heavily since the winter of 2010, but the interest has never turned into material. Even if Liverpool offers a 10 million dollar transfer this summer, it seems as though the Reds may have waited a little too long, as the signature-race for Dempsey has greatly heated up.
The fact that Liverpool cannot offer Champions League football next season is a major hit to their selling pitch, for if Dempsey really wanted to play simply English football next season, why wouldn’t he just stay with Fulham? Also, with all the pressure and disappointment surrounding the prestigious club at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dempsey looks elsewhere for a permanent relocation.
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Of course, with United able to control their own title destiny this season, Dempsey could be intruiged by the prestige and constant success of the Red Devils. United was especially linked with the Fulham forward after his breakout performances the last couple of weeks, although I highly doubt that he has suddenly jumped the likes of Hazard, Strootman and Rodriguez on Ferguson’s wish list.
As for Dempsey's personal choice, it would be risky to make a move to such a deep and already attack-loaded club like Manchester United at the peak of his career. Deuce is on fire and wants to play, so why would he want to go to a club with Chicharito, Nani, Berbatov, Macheda and Owen already ahead of him on the depth chart? It is probably an honor for Clint to be recognized by United as a transfer target, but this deal has a very slim chance of actually taking form.
Status: Not interested enough
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I list Tottenham and Newcastle here on the same slide, for they offer very similar packages. Both teams are battling for a Champions League spot right now and have very similar types of players at Dempsey’s position. While Tottenham might have a little more of a budget and are closer to home than Newcastle, both these teams, for the moment, are still sleepers in the race.
Status: In Contention
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After all of Dempsey’s talk of Champions League dreams and a big transfer move, don’t be too quick to rule out a long term deal at the Craven Cottage. Staying in West London has always been a possibility and this past week Dempsey said, “We’ll see what happens. Some of my best memories have been at Fulham.”
Even if Dempsey was looking for a pay raise, he might not have to move anywhere to get one, as Martin Jol has apparently offered a very big deal to keep the Texan past next season. Transfer rumors always have some weight to them, but it wouldn’t be too big a surprise if Dempsey ended up staying at the place he has called home since 2007.
That being said, one club still is the favorite to lure the Fulham star away from the Craven Cottage this summer.
Status: How hard can they sell the "home" pitch?
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At 29 years old, Dempsey doesn’t really fit the Wenger signing mold, yet Arsenal continue to be my favorite to land the Fulham star this summer. First off, Dempsey would be able to stay in London while most likely fulfilling his dream of playing Champions League football next season. With Arsenal standing five points clear of fifth place with five games to go, the odds that the Gunners will be able to offer Deuce UCL experience continue to get higher, something Liverpool, Fulham and maybe even Newcastle can’t offer.
Wenger has also insisted he is impressed by Dempsey's versatility, which is something that Arsenal could desperately use considering their constant habit of picking up significant injuries throughout the season. The Gunners may already be bringing in Podolski this Summer, but the inevitable departures of Bendtner, Vela and even Arshavin will provide budget and roster space for Dempsey in July.
Plus, his ability to play in multiple positions, even as a playmaker right under Van Persie, might just be too good a package for even cautious-spending Wenger to pass up.