Clint Dempsey: Picking the Best Tottenham Lineup for Spurs' Newest Signing
America's greatest player is finally a big fish in a big pond, no longer relegated to relative obscurity with Fulham. Now, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, Dempsey will have a chance to leave his mark on European football.
New Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas has an interesting problem to sort out though—with so many transfers coming in this past summer, how is he going to sort it out? Who are the best players to surround Dempsey with in the future?
Join me as I pick the best Tottenham lineup for when Villas-Boas wants to unleash Dempsey.
I like Brad Friedel. I really, really do. If Dempsey were on a season-long loan I might put the 41-year-old American between the posts.
But the former Fulham man is on a three-year contract and if you're Andre Villas-Boas and you're starting anew, do it with all 11 players.
Lloris, like Dempsey, needs to get on the pitch sooner rather than later. Put the two newcomers together and keep them together.
Physical, energetic, intelligent—how is Assou-Ekotto so consistently good at what he does? He supports the attack as though he were a winger himself (heck, he's already scored a goal this season) and he's got the awareness to know when to go back and support the defense with the athleticism to be able to be there. One of the best left backs in England.
The former Ajax man has taken a bit longer to learn Spurs' tactics than most in North London would have liked, but he'll get there. Best to have a more athletic option at centre-back for the future like Vertonghen who is able to fill the gaps in the midfield so that Dempsey can cheat up ever so slightly and ready his attack.
He hasn't played very much in recent years for Spurs but with Ledley King retired and Younes Kaboul injured until January, Dawson is on this list more out of necessity. When Kaboul is fit, Dawson will be replaced, and probably sold by Villas-Boas.
The on-again-off-again right back for the England national team has had an entire summer to settle into the starting position and I believe it will only make Walker better—especially in supporting Aaron Lennon up the right sideline, creating a lot of space for Dempsey to work his magic at the top of the key.
The most talented player on Tottenham's roster, Bale is a gift along the left sideline and needs to stay where he's strongest. The Welsh standout will create more than enough space for Dempsey by drawing out a lot of attention to himself—something Dempsey never had at Fulham.
Dembele is an attacking midfielder, but against Norwich City new Spurs manager Villas-Boas kept him mainly in the center of the midfield, allowing him the freedom to attack when it was smart to do so. Dembele rewarded his new team with a goal and the discipline to stay in the center of the midfield for all but a few minutes of the half-hour he was on the pitch.
One of the best players America has ever churned out, Dempsey needs to be at the top-center of the midfield, creating chances for Tottenham's lone striker and playing the second forward himself when the opportunity arises.
Gifted at dispossession, Sandro was a rarely used player under former manager Harry Redknapp. But, being surrounded by such an attack-heavy midfield, he'll need to partner with Dembele in the center of the midfield, especially when Dembele decides to go up and support the attack—which he loves to do.
Seemingly never gets tired along the right flank. Like his counterpart Gareth Bale, Lennon is fast enough to warrant some attention from opponents—although, admittedly not as much as Bale—and give Dempsey the extra meter or two of space he'll need to dump it off to a teammate in scoring position.
While I think he'll split duties pretty evenly with fellow striker Jermain Defoe, Adebayor is the piece of the puzzle Dempsey needs. The former Fulham man can deliver precision passes on a dime—in the air or on the ground—and it's Adebayor who is the better finisher, not Defoe.
Dempsey will collect more assists with Adebayor in the game and he'll score more goals with Defoe in. But Tottenham will be better with Dempsey paired with Adebayor, I'm afraid, and I hope it doesn't cause another season of discontentment for Defoe.