West Brom and Clint Dempsey, a match made in heaven?

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When considering where Clint Dempsey should move the primary consideration is to find a club where he is guaranteed to be a regular starter.

In the year leading up to 2014 World Cup, there is nothing more important than that.

Beyond the obvious fact that consistent playing time will ensure Dempsey is at his peak come next June, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made it abundantly clear that if a player is not seeing regular time at his club, this will affect his status on the national team.

Not that Dempsey’s status is in question, of course. But as the captain of the American squad, he owes it to himself, his manager, his teammates and the fans to follow suit and make sure he holds himself to the same standards as his peers.

In the past, we here at Pro Soccer Talk have looked at Deuce’s situation and hypothesized where he could end up. The future is wide open, to say the least. Sunderland, Fulham, Everton, and even a stay at White Hart Lane, could all fit the bill.

More: Where should Clint Dempsey go?

Yet perhaps the club best suited for Dempsey is none other than West Bromwich Albion.

With last year’s loan sensation, Romelu Lukaku, being called back to parent club and out-of-favor striker Peter Odemwingie set for a transfer away from The Hawthorns, the Baggies are in the market for forwards.

Pesky Irish international Shane Long will be sure to factor in for Steve Clarke’s side, as will Nicholas Anelka, who the Baggies snapped up on a free transfer last week. But at 34 years of age, counting on Anelka for regular contributions is a bit hopeful.

Dempsey would work well for West Brom not just due to their shortage up front but because he could also excel in the supporting striker role within West Brom’s 4-4-1-1. While the role is typically occupied by James Morrison, the Scottish international is equally effective on the right wing where he could displace fellow countryman Graham Dorrans.

With Long or Anelka leading the line, Chris Brunt on the left wing and Morrison on the right, Dempsey could return to the form we saw him at Fulham in 2011-12.

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

AP Photo/LM Otero
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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

[ MORE: Everton wins Europa opener ]

Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

https://www.transfermarkt.com/paul-arriola/leistungsdaten/spieler/189876

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).