Clint Dempsey may be a Cottager no longer.
According to Dempsey's agent Lyle Yorks, Dempsey is considering a move from Fulham and has received interest from several clubs.
"There is a lot of interest from big clubs in Europe in Clint," Yorks told the Major League Soccer website. "And now you’ve got Roy Hodgson leaving for Liverpool... so there’s a lot of different things going on."
“We’ve got a major club in Italy, a major club in France, and a club in the Bundesliga. We’ll be sorting through them in the coming weeks and also seeing what happens at Fulham."
“There’s direct contact and discussions, but first they’d have to agree a deal with Fulham.”
Following a solid World Cup performance and the imminent departure of Hodgson, Yorks' words have weight to them.
Dempsey is not only a desirable commodity—he's also available.
With Yorks' guidance and a little improvisation, let's take a look at what club options Deuce may have going forward.
After the U.S. were eliminated from the World Cup, the first side to show public interest in Dempsey were SSC Napoli of Serie A.
Dempsey's Europa League experience is exactly what the Azzurri will need for their 2010-2011 campaign, and if he could recreate his skill against rivals Juventus, Napoli, the fourth-most supported club in Italy would be more than willing to find a place in their side for the American midfielder.
Dempsey would certainly thrive either on the wing or at striker, and getting service regularly from Marek Hamsik, should the Slovakian superstar remain in Naples, could help Dempsey enjoy one of his most prolific seasons ever.
Napoli have also expressed interest in acquiring Jozy Altidore. If they could package both Americans together, this would be an upward move for both players and for the club as well.
The downfall with Napoli is that Dempsey isn't the prototypical Serie A attacker, but it would be a great experience for him all the same.
Plus, Dempsey could thrive on the wing if Napoli moved to a 4-2-3-1, the trendy formation in world football.
If this is the path for Dempsey, then by all means, forza Napoli.
Then again, that strike against Juventus may have just caught the eye of Italy's most prestigious club.
The Old Lady may just follow that strange trend in football of snatching up players that hurt you, and Dempsey would certainly add some zest to an often-stale Juve attack from last season.
Napoli seems more likely, but York said he has no offer from them and mentioned another Italian club with heavy interest.
Maybe it's Juve, maybe it isn't, but it's certainly possible that Dempsey's wondergoal has left an impact in Turin.
Recently, however, reports have emerged that AC Milan are interested in bidding on the American superstar.
Dempsey could join fellow American Oguchi Onyewu as Rossoneri, perhaps filling the void left by the departures of Yoann Gourcoff and Kaka. Milan struggled to find goals at times this year, and Dempsey could fit right in for an aging side seeking youthful rejuvenation.
When Yorks mentions a "major" club in France, it's hard to tell if he's being fully serious.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Ligue 1. It's one of my favorite leagues outside of the EPL, but it would be difficult to find, outside of Lyon, a really "major" club in the country.
Next in line behind Lyon are a host of borderline clubs: Marseille, St-Etienne, and Bordeaux.
Of those three, I'd say the latter of the bunch is Dempsey's most likely suitor, based off nothing but speculation.
New Bordeax manager Jean Tigana has already admitted that Yoann Gourcoff may be on his way out, possibly to Arsenal, so there's already a gap for a natural creative midfielder.
Couple that with the loss of Marouane Chamakh, and Bordeaux are in need of goals.
Dempsey provides just that, and his style of play is very similar to Gourcoff. Though less refined than his French counterpart, Dempsey has a better motor and gets dirtier than Gourcoff, and he would complement the likes of Alou Diarra and Jaroslav Plasil.
Another interesting side that Dempsey could move to, albeit by no means "major," would be Sochaux.
Though I still haven't forgiven Les Lionceaux for refusing to allow Charlie Davies to participate in pre-Cup camps for the U.S. National Team, it would be fun to see Dempsey beside an American.
We already know their play complements eachother's effectively, but would Dempsey and Davies partner up or compete for the same position?
I don't think we'll have to worry about that, however, as Bordeaux or Marseille are more probable options.
Both have experience with American players, as well—well, American player, that is, in Lester Dewee.
Dewee is a young up-and-comer in the U.S. U-20 player pool that has trained for and played in both clubs' reserve sides.
If you're paying close attention, you'll notice a pattern here: Most of these clubs have an American connection.
It's not for no reason, however. Clubs with players from unheralded footballing nations like the U.S. have been considered, until recent years, to tend to go back to those countries if said player pans out.
Look no further than Fulham—Brian McBride, Kasey Keller, Carlos Bocanegra, and now Dempsey.
Other clubs are no exception, and both Borussia Monchengladbach (Michael Bradley) and Hannover 96 (Steve Cherundolo) have successful U.S. connections.
Since Yorks distinguished clubs from the other countries as "major clubs" but did not include that modifier for the German side, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke were eliminated for the less-prominent sides chosen.
If Bradley stays with 'Gladbach, he and Dempsey could form a dangerous midfield tandem that could help the side build on their 2009-10 mid-table finish.
Hannover clearly loves the work of Cherundolo, who has over 200 appearances for them and has just extended his contract. Thus, it makes sense that they would seek the services of another American.
Of course, there are other Bundesliga options also with American connections (both Leverkusen and Bayern Munich through Landon Donovan, Freiburg through Daniel Williams, or even Hamburg, whom Dempsey helped eliminate from Europa League action this past season).
These two, however, stand out as the favorites.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's remember that Dempsey is under contract at Craven Cottage until the 2012-2013 season.
Just because Hodgson is heading out doesn't mean Dempsey is.
Yorks may very well just be doing that thing all agents seem to do—lying.
Maybe he's posturing for more money from Fulham, or maybe he's just trying to get some publicity for his client. Either way, it's possible Yorks is absolutely full of it.
Then again, he could be telling the truth. It would take a club willing to spend to get Dempsey to move, and if he's actually intent on leaving Fulham but doesn't desire to move out of the country, Liverpool is definitely in the mix.
Hodgson certainly loves Dempsey, who is as big a part of Hodgson's success as anybody.
Dempsey's goal against Liverpool in 2006-2007 kept Fulham up for Hodgson to step in the next season, and his goal against Juventus this year helped Hodgson make a name for himself in international circles during Fulham's miraculous Europa campaign.
While Uncle Roy has promised not to bring any players with him, he could, like Yorks, just be lying.
Only time will tell where Dempsey turns out, but any of these clubs are likely candidates and would be making a mutually beneficial move for both club and Clint.