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.

Salah beats De Bruyne to win PFA Player of the Year award

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) Mohamed Salah has been voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals in English football in recognition of an incredible scoring return to the Premier League with Liverpool.

[ MORE: Man United reach FA Cup final | Chelsea join them ]

The Egypt forward collected the Professional Footballers’ Association award at a ceremony in London on Sunday, two days before Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal first leg against Roma.

It is a reunion with the Italian club he left in the offseason for 42 million euros (then $47 million). The hefty fee appeared to be a gamble for Liverpool but now represents a real bargain.

The former Chelsea player has scored 41 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool – enabling him to beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in second place to the PFA award.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane was third.

[ MORE: Man City thrash Swansea in pursuit of points record ]

“It’s a big honor,” Salah said. “I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it.”

Salah is preparing to lead Egypt into its first World Cup in 28 years and he is the first player from the North African nation to win English football’s top individual prize.

“Hopefully I’m not the last one,” he said. “I’m very proud to win and I’ve worked very hard.”

Salah’s impact has been more remarkable given his underwhelming 2014-15 season at Chelsea before being offloaded by then-manager Jose Mourinho. He went on loan to Fiorentina in early 2015 and Roma in 2016, and then on a permanent basis to Roma in August 2016.

Scoring 15 goals and setting up 11 more for Roma convinced Liverpool to bring Salah back to a second spell in England.

[ MORE: Liverpool draw West Brom in final tune-up before UCL semis ]

His goal at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday was his 31st in the league this season, tying the scoring record in a 38-game campaign held by Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Luis Suarez.

Suarez was the last Liverpool player to be crowned player of the year by the PFA in 2014 before moving to Barcelona.

It’s a sign of his remarkable impact that Salah secured the award with third-place Liverpool and that none of Manchester City’s newly crowned champions won the accolade.

But City winger Leroy Sane was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

The PFA women’s player award went to Chelsea forward Fran Kirby, while Lauren Hemp of Bristol City secured the young player prize.

CONCACAF cancels women’s U-17 tournament due to violence

CONCACAF
Leave a comment

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) CONCACAF has canceled the rest of its 2018 Women’s Under-17 Championship following violence in Managua, Nicaragua, where the tournament began Thursday.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football made the announcement Sunday. The tournament was to have determined the region’s qualifiers for the Under-17 World Cup in Uruguay, which starts Nov. 13.

More than two dozen people have been killed since Wednesday according to the independent Nicaraguan Human Rights Center, though the government had acknowledged only nine dead. Dozens of shops in Managua were looted during protests and disturbances sparked by government social security reforms.

The U.S. opened Friday with a 4-0 win over Costa Rica and had been scheduled to play Bermuda on Sunday and Canada on Tuesday.

The 2 Robbies: “Wenger was the Guardiola of his day”

Mark Kerton/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle discuss the shock news of Arsene Wenger announcing he will stand down at the end of the season and celebrate the living legend’s career, while also exploring who will take this massive job, then finish up talking about the FA Cup semifinal results.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Juventus 0-1 Napoli: Serie A title race back on… again

Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP
Leave a comment

This season’s scudetto race has been very much on, all but over, back on, a mere formality and now, following Sunday’s clash between first- and second-place Juventus and Napoli, on again… all inside the last four or five weeks of this roller-coaster Serie A season.

[ MORE: Man United reach FA Cup final | Chelsea join them ]

Some will say that Juventus have regressed as the majority of their stars are now on the wrong side of 30, while others will say that a young and always-improving Napoli side has closed the gap all on their own and pulled themselves onto level footing with the six-time defending champions. The all-knowing among us will say it’s all of the above.

[ MORE: Barcelona hammer Sevilla to lift 4th straight Copa del Rey ]

For 89 minutes, Saturday’s clash at the Allianz Stadium appeared to be the final nail in Napoli’s coffin, as Maurizio Sarri’s side found themselves hopelessly blunted and unable to break through Juve’s ultra-defensive foundation (4 shots, o on target for Juve over 90 minutes). Kalidou Koulibaly’s thunderous header from Jose Callejon’s corner kick changed all of that, and drew Gli Azzurri to within a single point of Juve with four games left to play.

It’s the first time Juve have lost in league play since Nov. 19 (17 wins in 20 games) and their first league defeat at home since Oct. 14 (10 wins in 11 games, outscoring opponents by a combined 28-3). Napoli are now unbeaten in their last 30 league games away from home (24 wins), dating back to the last time they visited Juventus, Oct. 29, 2016.

Still on Juve’s remaining schedule: trips to take on fifth-place Inter Milan and third-place Roma. As for Napoli, they’ll take on eighth-, ninth- and 10th-place Sampdoria, Fiorentina and Torino, respectively, as well as 16th-place Crotone.

(Ever so slight) Advantage, Napoli?