Clint Dempsey is one of the top American players currently plying his trade overseas. And some fans of the U.S. men’s national team might be stoked at the unsubstantiated Goal.com rumors surfacing Tuesday that mighty Arsenal has expressed interest in adding the 28-year-old Texas native prior to the close of the transfer window on Wednesday.
Sure, it’d be cool to see “our guy” lining up at the Emirates in the vaunted red and white, competing day in and day out against the best players in the world. But from the perspective of hoping that the gritty attacking midfielder continues to develop, I hope this rumor is precisely that: a rumor.
To provide some background:
“A source close to the player told Goal.com that Arsenal will acquire Dempsey within the next 48 hours as long as Fulham does not set the price too high.
“'The deal seems like a very real possibility, but will come down to how quickly the two sides can agree on the selling price,’ the source said.
“Fulham does not want to sell the club's key attacker but privately accepts that it will be unable to fend off Arsenal if the north Londoners match the value of $16.3 million for the American, who is highly regarded at Craven Cottage and has two years remaining on his contract.”
OK, so it’s still far from a done deal.
And here’s hoping it stays that way.
First off, Dempsey has been a fantastic fit at Fulham. In parts of his six seasons at Craven Cottage, Dempsey has made 183 appearances, scoring a very solid 40 goals.
But more than that, he’s had a regular place in the lineup with the Cottagers, something that certainly would not be guaranteed with the Gunners. Sure, he’d have hours of practice time with the Robin Van Persies, Theo Walcotts and Bacary Sagnas of the world, but how much would that mean if he rarely sees the pitch in a meaningful match?
Presumably Arsene Wenger and company see enough value in the American as a player to consider the enormous transfer fee Fulham would demand.
But is the cache of a move to one of the world’s largest, most renowned clubs worth the decrease in playing time?
I would say no. Remaining at Fulham, where he’s a bigger fish in a smaller pond, is more likely to aid Dempsey’s skills, ability and fitness in the long run, resulting in more of a payoff for him in the red, white and blue of the United States.
Yes, U.S. soccer fans. It’s fun to hear one of “your guys” bandied about in a possible transfer to Arsenal. But understand that for the betterment of Dempsey’s game as a whole, it’s best that he stays far away from the Emirates.