Andre Villas-Boas, Clint Dempsey

Where should Clint Dempsey go? Everton, Liverpool, Sunderland…

17 Comments

Where will he go? Nobody knows.

After Clint Dempsey was reportedly transfer listed by Tottenham Hotspur yesterday evening, plenty of possible destinations for the US national team captain have already cropped up.

Whether or not Dempsey is for sale, that’s another matter.

But it does seem as though a move away from White Hart Lane would help get his career in the English Premier League back on track. Deuce scored just seven EPL goals in the 2012-13 campaign, compared to 17 at Fulham the season before.

Due to injury, lack of form and squad rotation, a solid run in the Spurs team has alluded him since he arrived for $10 million last summer. Dempsey and his agent have previously refuted any claims of a summer move, but he may not have a say in this switch.

But which EPL club would suit Dempsey best? That, my friends, is the hard bit.

Tottenham weren’t the only club interested in Deuce when he left Fulham on transfer deadline day last August. Liverpool and Everton were keeping close tabs on the situation right up until the window slammed shut.

Could the two Merseyside clubs be an option now? Everton seems more likely.

With Roberto Martinez molding a new look squad and aiming to play attacking soccer, Dempsey would fit the bill as an experienced attacker who has scored more than five EPL goals in each of his last six seasons. Coupled with assists and tireless work rate, Dempsey would get on well at Goodison Park. Plus Martinez has been said to admire US players in the past after his various stints on US soccer broadcasts as a pundit. Intriguing.

(MORE: Dempsey reportedly transfer listed by Spurs)

Liverpool could be a non-starter. Yes they were heavily linked with a move for the US forward last year, but Brendan Rodgers and his staff are looking for young talent to supplement the experience of Steve Gerrard et al., with their transfer policy altering significantly since Dempsey was on the radar.

Where else, you ask. Well, what about Sunderland? Dempsey could team up with his pal Jozy Altidore and American owner Ellis Short would rake in the money in shirt sales and other merchandise spin offs. It’s a win-win. But would manager Paolo Di Canio take kindly to it? I’m not sure. His abrasive attitude coupled with Dempsey’s confident swagger is a ticking time bomb. If the duo clash, a move to Sunderland could be a short lived experience for Dempsey.

Has anyone considered this. After not settling at Spurs, despite demanding a move away from Fulham, should Dempsey have stayed at Craven Cottage?

What’s that old saying? Something about the grass not always being greener… well, it could ring true here. Yes, Dempsey got to play for a club with a bigger profile but did it get him Champions League soccer? No. He played in the Europe League last season but he did that with Fulham during the 2009-10 season.

(MORE: Are Spurs putting the “For Sale” sign on Clint Dempsey?)

I’m not saying a move back to Fulham is the answer, and heck, the move to Spurs hasn’t been a disaster. Look at how well Dempsey has performed for the USA and he’s now their shining light and set to captain the Yanks at next summer’s World Cup.

Between now and then he needs to be at a club who value his attacking impetus and use him the right way. At Spurs he’s often playing in deeper roles and hasn’t really fit in with their counter-attacking style.

Wherever Deuce lands, if he does leave Spurs, I’m sure he will be firing on all cylinders for the US at the World Cup. But having a settled season in the EPL, for a club he’s happy at, is key.

Clearly his time at Spurs is coming to an end. But where next? That’s the $10 million question.

Bremen beats Wolfsburg to leave Bundesliga relegation zone

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - AUGUST 10:  Serge Gnabry of Germany reacts during the Men's First Round Football Group C match between Germany and Fiji at Mineirao Stadium on August 10, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Midfielder Serge Gnabry scored twice as Werder Bremen moved away from the Bundesliga’s relegation zone with a 2-1 win at fellow struggler Wolfsburg on Friday.

Bremen and Wolfsburg are level on points and two above Hamburger SV, which is in 18th place and in the relegation zone.

It was a fifth defeat in six games for Wolfsburg coach Valerien Ismael, who won the league and cup double as a player with Bremen in 2004.

Gnabry fired the visitors ahead with a deflected shot in the 10th minute and made it 2-0 eight minutes later, controlling the ball with his chest before prodding home on the volley.

Striker Borja Mayoral, who is on loan from Real Madrid, scored with his chest following a Wolfsburg corner as Wolfsburg hit back moments later.

Midfielder Daniel Didavi struck the post with a free kick as Wolfsburg kept pushing for an equalizer.

Mancini reportedly not interested in Leicester City, De Boer says no

GENOA, ITALY - APRIL 20:  Head Coach of FC Internazionale Roberto Mancini looks during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on April 20, 2016 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Two top candidates to replace Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City have reportedly turned down any interest in the job.

Roberto Mancini, the heavy favorite out of the gates after Ranieri’s dismissal, tweeted his support for Ranieri after the news broke. “I am sorry for my friend Ranieri,” Mancini said. “He will be in the history of LCFC, in the hearts of Leicester fans and all football lovers.”

However, the fellow Italian has rebuffed Leicester’s informal advances towards his services. According to Sky Sports, Leicester sent “intermediaries” to “sound out” Mancini’s feelings towards the position, but came back empty-handed. The report states Mancini was turned off to the club after a short and unsuccessful spell there as a player in 2001.

That leaves a host of other names who have been linked to the job, with no clear favorite. One person mentioned was Dutch legend Frank de Boer, who is unemployed after an unusually short stint in charge of Inter Milan. However, De Boer’s agent went public to say he was not ever in the running.

“There is zero possibility that Frank could go to Leicester,” agent Guido Albers told Italian publication Tuttomercatoweb. “I too heard these rumors, but that’s all they are – rumors. I can affirm without doubt that Frank will not become the Leicester City manager. This will 100 per cent not happen.”

Albers explained that De Boer is only interested in joining a club in the offseason, preferring to enter a project with a blank slate rather than joining midseason with particular goals already clearly laid out. With Leicester, it seems De Boer is turned off by the notion of a relegation battle.

Win over Las Palmas again has La Real on edge of CL spot

GETAFE, SPAIN - DECEMBER 11:  Xavi Prieto of Real Sociedad in action during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Coliseum Alfonso Perez stadium on December 11, 2015 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

All it took was one mistake. Real Sociedad’s Xabi Prieto capitalized, and has La Real once again on the verge of next year’s Champions League.

La Real finished 7th in 2013/14, and 9th in 2015/16, and this year, they’re closer than ever. Preito’s goal on the mistake by Las Palmas goalkeeper Javi Varas gave Real Sociedad the 1-0 road win and has them just a point off a Champions League place.

[ MORE: Antonio Conte pulling from experience to keep Chelsea on top ]

That could be even closer next week, as fourth-placed Atletico Madrid has to welcome Barcelona to the Calderon tomorrow, leaving the door open for La Real to make another move next weekend.

The goal down the stretch is not just to win the games they should, but make the teams above them work. La Real has won seven of their last ten matches, but the three losses came to Real Madrid, Villareal, and Sevilla, all teams fighting at the top of the table. They still have chances down the stretch, with matches against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, and Eibar coming up, with the latter on the docket next weekend.

Conte pulling from prior experience as title race pushes on

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea looks on during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea at Molineux on February 18, 2017 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Antonio Conte has recalled some painful memories to push himself and his players forward despite their commanding lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Chelsea sits eight points clear of Manchester City, and has the chance to go even further in front with many of the top teams off this weekend, but that won’t give the Italian any better sleep at night.

In the 1999/2000 season, Conte was nearing the end of his 13-year Juventus tenure. He’d won three league titles already, plus two league cup trophies and a Champions League title with the Serie A giants. With a comfortable nine point lead after 26 matches, the club became complacent. They would lose four of their final eight matches, collapsing on the final day in the pouring rain, allowing Lazio to come roaring back to win the title.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks for Week 26 ]

“I was captain of the team,” Conte said. “I remember after this game I must go to the European Championships with the national team. I didn’t sleep for six days because it was a shock for me to lose the title.”

Clearly, that still haunts him. “I have experienced this,” Conte continued. “When I continue to repeat that there are 13 games, there are 39 points… there is a long time before we can say we won the title. We must be focused, we must go step by step.”

The Blues host Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday before a trip to West Ham next weekend. If anyone believes the Chelsea players are complacent holding such a significant lead with 13 matches to go, it’s clear that’s not nearly the case. Anything can happen in three months.