As President Gerald Ford famously said while being sworn into office, our long national nightmare is over, and while the transfer saga of a soccer player moving from one good club to another can hardly be called a nightmare, the melodrama that’s surrounded Clint Dempsey’s move from Fulham deserves an equally theatrical conclusion.
Who is he: At 29 years old, this is Dempsey’s big move, having spent the last four-and-a-half years at Fulham after moving from MLS’s New England Revolution. Over his final two seasons with the Cottagers, Dempsey scored 36 all-competition goals, becoming Fulham’s all-time leader in Premier League goals (as well as their single-season record holder). One of the United States men’s national team’s two big stars, Dempsey has 27 international goals in 87 career appearances.
What does he do: After starting as a wide-to-in player during his first years at Fulham, Dempsey evolved into somebody who is most effective working through the middle. Though most of his scoring comes from his intelligent off-the-ball penalty area movement, Dempsey’s skill on the ball allows him to act as a facilitator, his strong shot also making him a threat just outside the penalty area. Surprisingly strong in the air, Dempsey often benefits from matchup advantages on set pieces. While Dempsey lacks a true world class skill, he is a plus-contributor in all facets of the game, including work rate.
How much did he cost: Fulham confirmed a £6 million ($9.5 million) price. Some will see that as pricey for a 29-year-old in the last year of his deal, but for a player who scored 17 Premier League goals last season (and was willing to commit to a three-year deal), it’s a justifiable expense.
How will he fit: Very well. On paper, Dempsey should start along with Gareth Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor up top in Andre Villas-Boas’s preferred 4-3-3. Dempsey’s skill set fits perfectly with what Villas-Boas wants from his players, while his goal scoring will be a plus for a team that just sold one of last season’s leading scorers (Rafael van der Vaart).
Off the field, Dempsey and his family get to stay in London while he gets an unquestioned move up. While Spurs aren’t in Champions League, they finished fourth last season, and with the additions of Moussa Demebélé and Hugo Lloris, Tottenham are ready for another run at Champions League.
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