Coasting back into the league that propelled Clint
In our age of money-grabbing myopic footballers, transfer windows have never failed to surprise football fans worldwide. Amidst the transfer saga clichés of Bale or Rooney, sometimes a club may be able to go under the radar to come away with a gem of a player. Case in point: the Seattle Sounders.
To swipe Dempsey, when all eyes are on their prized Welshman, under the nose of Everton must have put a smile on Sigi Schmid’s face. The Sounders’ head coach must be counting his lucky stars as he figures out how to slot the versatile Dempsey into his attack with Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson. But to credit the Sounders alone for this deal would be too superficial.
After Bale took centre stage in the middle of the park and Sigurdsson hitting a timely purple patch last season, Dempsey was quickly overlooked by Andre Villas Boas. Coupled with the signings of Paulinho and Soldado this summer, Dempsey was becoming surplus to requirement. Everton came knocking and looking at Dempsey’s Fulham statistics, there were probably a couple of other European clubs that could have used his versatility and quality.
The decision to choose Sounders might be perplexing to some but it could actually be a well-informed decision by the 30-year-old. Everton with the new Robert Martinez, is a club in transition, and right now, that’s the last thing the American needs. It would be a huge gamble for him to sign at Everton now, especially with the way he struggles to find his footing in his first seasons in both Fulham and Tottenham.
What he needs right now is regular playing time and a clean bill of health to carry him into 2014. Considering that Brazil is probably his last World Cup, Dempsey needs to find his scoring boots soon and what better way than to do it than to link up with his possible national team strike partner Eddie Johnson.
Many footballers past their peak live in denial until their bodies and performance show a certain dreadful decline. While Dempsey might still have a few years of top flight European football in him, his injuries and struggles at Tottenham is a stark reminder of the flip side. But there is certainly no denying his level of talent, as shown by the ripples his transfer has made in the MLS.
“Major League Soccer is thrilled to have Clint Dempsey, arguably one of the best players the United States has ever produced, return to the league to play for the Sounders,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.
By moving to the MLS, not only will he have a guaranteed first eleven spot, he will be back in a familiar territory, a league in which he made a name for himself, winning the Honda Player of the Year award in 2006. More importantly, a league in which he knows, he will be given the chance to shine.
The one party that will most probably benefit from this is the US national team. Jurgen Klinsmann might have told the Wall Street Journal that Clint Dempsey "hasn’t made s***" a couple of years ago when he was at Fulham. But even he must be relieved that his captain will be getting regular playing time after he fell out of favour at Tottenham and playing alongside Eddie Johnson can only be good for the US national team.
No matter how you look at it, this move is a career masterstroke for the attacker. If his form picks up perfectly during the World Cup — the shop window for the biggest clubs in the world — he might get one final shot at European football. If he doesn’t, he is already settled in and ready to coast in style back into the league that propelled him to the very stage he just left.
This piece was written by Stefanus Ian, who is based in Singapore. GIFs via. Comments below please.
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