Earlier this week, Clint Dempsey left the Premier League and made a return to his homeland America to join with MLS club Seattle Sounders. He will become the highest paid player in MLS history, and the fee that Seattle Sounders are paying Tottenham Hotspur for the striker is understood to be in the region of $9m, which for an MLS club is quite a high fee.
Dempsey’s signing has come as a shock to quite a few people, since he is at such an important stage in his career and the move occurred just one year before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Nevertheless, it is a move that has once again, raised the stick of the MLS. Given that he is so well-known in the USA as well as in England, the move sparked more players who have played in the MLS over the last six years to join a Premier League side. For example, Landon Donovan spent two loan spells at Everton, and most recently, Geoff Cameron joined Stoke City. Major League Soccer is now getting more recognition and is rising as a league as a result of Clint Dempsey’s career in England.
The American striker came to England as an attacking midfielder, but was able to convert into a striker during his time at Fulham, picking up relatively impressive results and statistics. Sometimes it can be difficult for players to change their role in the team, but Clint Dempsey adapted to this well in the Premier League and became a constant nuisance for defenders of all sides to fend off.
Dempsey also made his mark on the European stage with Fulham as he helped them reach the final of the Europa League in 2010. Putting in great performances and scoring when his side really needed it, the prolific American became more and more of a regular in the team with then Fulham manager Roy Hodgson. He spent a total of six years in England and became a fan favorite at Fulham during his time there, always being one of their main threats in terms of goal scoring. He scored 50 goals in 184 league appearances at the Craven Cottage club. He isn’t the most prolific of strikers, but the majority of chances he gets, he takes.
He didn’t endure the happiest year at Tottenham due to his goal scoring tally not being as high as he’d hoped in addition to not getting a regular starting place in the team. With him not being a regular in the mind of Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, maybe it really was time for a change of scenery for Dempsey. With the World Cup less than 12 months away now, no international striker will want to risk being left out of the squad by not playing regularly for their club.
Maybe this change is for the best. He will play almost every game for Seattle when fit and will take his chances. Also, with him playing in America, his national team coach will be able to see first-hand what the striker is really capable of, not that he didn’t already know. He managed just over 10 goals in the whole of last season in all competitions, which is not too impressive for a striker of his caliber.
This move is really crucial for Clint Dempsey as the 30-year-old attempts to force his way into the World Cup squad for next year, and he insists he is arriving at Seattle Sounders in his prime. Speaking at a press conference after he officially became a Sounders player, Dempsey said:
“I just missed being in America. I wanted to help continue the growth of the game here. You can’t help the growth of the game if you come back and you don’t perform. I understand there is a lot of pressure on me to succeed, a lot of expectations that others have on me, but also the expectations I put on myself and when I decided to come back to this league, I want to make an impact.”
“I want to do a good job. I don’t want to come and be passive and not be able to make a difference in games. I want to win things. I’ve been in Europe for six-and-a-half years and I just wanted to come home. Each year was getting more difficult to go back. The Seattle Sounders moved mountains to get me here. It was an opportunity to come back when I was in my prime, and continue growth in the league and it’s a challenge.”
Success for Dempsey is by no means far-fetched, and the striker will certainly add more attacking flair to the Sounders as they prepare to conquer the MLS Cup in December. I suppose his reasons for moving back are pretty understandable, and he will no doubt help continue the growth of American football, not just at the club level, but at the international level as well.
Written by OneFutbol