UPDATE, FRIDAY, AUG. 2, 2013, 9:12 P.M. ET
The Seattle Sounders have signed Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur for $9 million, sources have confirmed to SB Nation, confirming an earlier report from ESPN FC. Looks like the speculation turned out to be something after all.
END OF UPDATE
Use caution with the various reports linking Clint Dempsey with a move away from Tottenham Hotspur. Until anything credible emerges, it's best to treat the reports as exactly what they are—speculation.
Dempsey, a 30-year-old attacking midfielder, signed with Tottenham Hotspur last summer in a deal reportedly worth £7.5 million. The United States international scored seven goals in 29 Premier League appearances (22 starts), including a winner against eventual champions Manchester United at Old Trafford in September.
He was not, however, a first-choice player under manager Andre Villas-Boas. In July, rumors, like this one from Fox Soccer, started swirling that Spurs were willing to sell. Thursday night and Friday morning, the rumors reached a new level of intensity.
For a few hours Thursday night, a series of breathless Twitter posts would have led one to believe Dempsey was on his way to the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer. By Friday morning, however, British media were reporting that Dempsey's destination was Everton of the English Premier League.
MLSsoccer.com's Andy Edwards has published an excellent summary of the Seattle rumors—from the first speculative tweet to multiple airport sightings to all-out hyperventilation. It all makes for fascinating reading, but the most important takeaway from the incident came from Eddie Johnson, a fellow U.S. international and Dempsey's former teammate at Fulham.
Via Twitter, Johnson wrote:
I think everyone needs to calm down. If Dempsey was coming I would of been spilled the beans #foodforthought— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) August 2, 2013
Johnson's tweet should have quelled the rumors, but Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports published a story about Seattle's supposed interest anyway. In the report, Sky cited Sounders manager Sigi Schmid's interview with Sports Radio KJR, in which Schmid said:
I know Clint. I talked to him when he was here when he was playing against Panama. I always follow what he does and his career and what he did in MLS, but there's nothing there that I can say right now.
We're always looking for good players. You can't really close the door on anything, but right now there's nothing that's nailed down and concrete.
For now, this is nothing. Schmid of course is aware of Dempsey, having coached in MLS with brief interruptions since 1999. What else would he say—that the Sounders have no interest in Dempsey? Of course not.
Metro's Danny Griffiths, meanwhile, published a report Friday morning linking Dempsey with Everton. Like the Seattle rumors, this one used Dempsey's presence in the San Francisco airport as a starting point.
According to Metro, however, Dempsey was in San Francisco to meet up with Everton. The Toffees beat Everton on penalties in the Guinness International Champions Cup on Wednesday at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
The report neither quotes any sources nor quotes anyone concerned. As such, it can only be considered speculation until further notice.
That said, if both Seattle and Everton really are interested and Spurs really do want to sell, there is reason to think Everton hold the advantage. At 30, Dempsey is still at or near his prime, and if he has an offer to remain in the Premier League, he will likely accept it. In addition, Everton were linked with Dempsey in 2012, before Dempsey left Fulham for Tottenham.
But for now, we have only speculation. And for now, the best approach to the rumors is caution.