Cottagers swoop for Belgium International Dembele, Dempsey on the outs?

Bill GardnerContributor IAugust 18, 2010

BEIJING - AUGUST 16: Moussa Dembele of Belgium runs with the ball during the Men's Quarter Final match between Italy and Belgium at the Workers' Stadium on Day 8 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 16, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Phil Walter/Getty Images

Moussa Dembele has signed a three year deal with Fulham after AZ Alkmaar agreed to transfer the 23 year old striker for a reported 6.5 million Euros according to AFP.

The move by Hughes places further emphasis on his omission of U.S. International Clint Dempsey, as transfer rumors surrounding Dempsey gain steam.

Dembele is a creator of goals rather than a scorer or target man. He plays the same role as Dempsey does for Fulham and is not seen as a replacement for Zamora or Gera. Gera has dismissed rumors that he is Liverpool bound, though Hughes is now linked to Roque Santa Cruz who is surplus at Man City.

Without European Football fixtures the addition leaves Hughes with many options up front and a limited fixture list, and if he adds Santa Cruz from City Dempsey is finished, if he is not finished already. 

Dembele started 28 games for AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch top flight last term, scoring 4 goals and setting up another 2 while picking up 3 yellow cards. He added a brace in his lone appearance for the Dutch side in the Dutch Cup. During the 2008-2009 season however, Dembele netted 18 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions including 7 international goals in only 15 appearances.

Dembele is reported to have top class pace and thrived under now Bayern Munich Manager Louis van Gaal in his aggressive attacking system, an attacking system that Hughes is not known for. Can Hughes, like van Gaal get the best out of Dembele, that remains to be seen, but the signing is bad news for the American duo at Fulham. While Eddie Johnson is hardly a top class Premiership performer, Clint Dempsey is a proven commodity and Fulham favorite as the clubs longest tenured player.

With a different manager, or a European fixture list there would be a place for Dembele and Dempsey but with Zamora and Gera and now Dembele where will Dempsey play? My guess is not at Fulham look for Liverpool manager and former Fulham boss Roy Hodgson to come for Dempsey before someone else does.