Premier League Scouting Report: Tottenham Hotspur's Clint Dempsey
He is arguably the greatest American field player in European club history. He scored the fourth-most goals in the Premiership last year, and he forced himself out of Fulham after a falling out with his manager.
Now he is starting a new chapter in his career, but first, we should look back at what "Deuce" has accomplished so far.
All stats and history can be found in Dempsey's profile at USSoccer.com.
Dempsey was born Clinton Drew Dempsey to Aubrey and Debbie Dempsey in Nacogdoches, Texas. According to legend, Dempsey's older brother, Ryan, went to an elite tryout for an elite club known as the Dallas Texans. Clint was noticed and recruited while passing time juggling a ball on the sidelines.
Dempsey went on to being named a high school All American as a senior. For college, he attended Furman University, where he was named a second-team All American in 2002.
Time in MLS
Dempsey was selected eighth overall by the New England Revolution in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. He scored seven goals in his first season, which was good enough to make him the MLS Rookie of the Year.
In his sophomore season, Dempsey impressed again, tallying 10 goals and nine assists in 26 games. In the Eastern Conference Final, he scored the lone goal, sending the Revolution to the final. After such a successful season, Dempsey was named to the MLS Best XI.
In 2006, Dempsey scored eight goals in limited time. Despite missing time because of injury and the World Cup, he was still selected to the MLS Best XI. In January of 2007, Dempsey became the most expensive American import to the Premier League, as Fulham bought him for £2 million.
Time at Fulham
Dempsey struggled to break into the first team after his January transfer. However, he did get some time, and he scored one goal. It was a goal that instantly made Dempsey a fan favorite because it saved the Cottagers from relegation.
For the next four years, Deuce was a regular in the Fulham side. He made at least 40 appearances in all competitions each year, proving himself a valuable asset to the Cottagers. Each year, Dempsey improved his scoring tally, from six to eight to nine to 13.
In his last season with Fulham, though, Dempsey had a historic campaign.
Dempsey netted 17 goals in the league, while setting records in the process. In December, he scored the lone goal against Liverpool, making him the most prolific American scorer in Premiership history (37). His hat trick against Newcastle United on January 21 was the first ever by an American in the Premier League.
In the last home game of the season, he brought his career league goal tally to 50 with a free-kick against Sunderland. He was voted Fulham's Player of the Season by the fans for the second straight year.
Fulham Fallout and Transfer
Dempsey's goal has always been to play in the Champions League, which is widely considered to be the highest level of club football. At 29, Deuce will only be able to contribute for a few more years. Accordingly, he wanted to move sooner rather than later.
Despite his individual success at Fulham, it was clear that they would never qualify for a Champions League spot. As a result, Dempsey informed manager Martin Jol that he wanted out.
After that, Dempsey was left out of the lineup, and Fulham seemed ready to adhere to his demands. The club had been loyal to him, but it simply wasn't offering the opportunities Dempsey wanted.
The separation was civil, yet tense, considering it happened a little later than what's typically ideal. On transfer deadline day, Aston Villa and Fulham had agreed on a fee for the American, but Dempsey turned it down, apparently wanting to join Liverpool.
Shortly thereafter, Fulham rejected Liverpool's bid for Deuce. At the end of the day, Tottenham Hotspur swooped in and bought Dempsey for £6 million.
Will Dempsey be a success at Tottenham?
Future at Spurs
Dempsey is a very good player. He's clever on the ball, and he is very direct. Given Andre Villas-Boas' counterattacking system, Dempsey's attacking mindset will fit in just fine.
Spurs like to move forward quickly; they just need a goal-scoring midfielder to support Emmanuel Adebayor. While Dempsey has been playing on the wing and up top for Fulham, he might be moved to a reserved, central role with Spurs.
If that happens, Dempsey could rack up a lot of goals and assists. Spurs have had a sloppy start to the season, but now they have their team set. Villas-Boas can get everything in line, and the North London club can get back to playing the beautiful counterattacking football that yielded them a fourth-place finish last year.
Spurs missed out on the Champions League for the second straight year last season, but they're hungry to get back. With Deuce, they have someone even hungrier for top-notch European football.
Dempsey has already established himself as a very good American player. At Spurs, he will only add to that legacy.
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