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|SoccerAnchor EPL Transfer Special: Where will Fulham’s Clint Dempsey end up?|
SoccerAnchor has already taken a look at what the respective clubs need on the transfer market, but where could some of the big-name players end up by August? Paul Bastin explore the curious case of Clint Dempsey...
The stocks of Fulham’s versatile forward Clint Dempsey have risen sharply in the last 12 months, and rightfully so. The performances of the American international have elevated him to elite status, becoming one of the most valuable players in the English Premier League. Unsurprisingly, high profile clubs are interested in obtaining his services and will be knocking on the door at Craven Cottage.
It’s no coincidence that Fulham’s recent achievements have coincided with the development and consistent brilliance of their talisman Dempsey. The Cottagers finished the Premier League season in ninth position with 52 premiership points, their best-ever points total.
Dempsey was a major catalyst for Fulham’s success, scoring 17 of the clubs 48 Premier League goals. He also had six assists, meaning he was directly involved in just under 50 percent of the Lilywhites' scores - truly outstanding. It’s no wonder other clubs are readying their chequebooks and licking their lips at the thought of poaching Dempsey in the manner Dempsey himself poaches goals – swiftly and clinically.
Having been purchased from MLS club New England Revolution for a reported £2 million in December 2007, Dempsey has been a great servant for Fulham and undeniably a superb investment. But loyalty is an acid test for many stars at clubs like Fulham, where opportunities to realistically challenge for European football are limited and hopes of a title are fanciful. Will Dempsey stay true to the Craven Cottage faithful, or chase glory elsewhere?
With mounting speculation over the future of superstar Robin van Persie, the possible signing of Clint Dempsey at the Emirates becomes more and more realistic and crucial to their title hopes.
Having been too reliant on Van Persie to provide goals this season, Arsenal need other attacking options.
Lukas Podolski has already signed from German side Cologne, but the Gunners will want more firepower – especially if Van Persie does part ways. Dempsey would be a great goalscoring avenue with or without the Dutchman, but the combination could be deadly.
According to various sources including The Guardian, Arsene Wenger is actively interested in Dempsey. The interest will intensify if Arsenal lose their Golden Boot winner Van Persie. The signing of Dempsey could be a perfect fit for both parties and Arsenal are seemingly in the box seat.
CHANCE OF SIGNING: 60%
If any side with probable top four aspirations needs a prolific goalscorer, it’s Liverpool. Huge spending on players like Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have not provided the potency expected. The Reds have had no trouble creating chances, but finishing them has been a struggle. Only 47 goals in the Premier League campaign is a substandard output, particularly considering the hype surrounding the restructured squad.
Given recent splurges in transfer windows, it is understood that Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) will provide a far more measured chequebook for the new manager that takes over departing club legend, Kenny Dalglish. This may make it difficult for the Reds to outbid other suitors, but Dempsey could be the ideal investment if the price is right. His reliability in attack is exactly what Liverpool require to challenge for Champions League football.
Another intriguing aspect is the American connection at Liverpool. FSG are an American organisation, which is likely to add weight to their interest in Dempsey and their ability to attract him to the club.
Perhaps Dempsey’s perception of Liverpool’s plight may determine whether he takes his talents to the Merseyside. Liverpool will certainly be keen, but Champions League football is a significant carrot for the American. Liverpool will play in Europe next season in the Europa League, but having made the final of the competition with Fulham in 2010, that alone is unlikely to spark Dempsey’s interest. If he deems Liverpool to have Champions League on the horizon, then he may head towards the red sky. It’s not beyond the realm, but Arsenal would be at shorter odds as it stands.
CHANCE OF SIGNING: 10%
REMAIN AT FULHAM
Dempsey has experienced some great moments in his six seasons with the Lilywhites and clearly plays with great passion for the club. The emotional attachment suggests he is still a chance to stay, but significant money and trophy ambitions are also a key determinant. It may become a heart versus head decision.
Fulham manager Martin Jol has publicly insisted that Fulham are desperate to keep their man and will offer a contract that Dempsey will find difficult to refuse. It’s understood that Fulham will put forward a three-year contract, but how much money will be required to keep Dempsey satisfied?
Outside offers are expected to be in the vicinity of £10-15m (AUD $15-25m), which will stretch Fulham’s comparative bank balance. But an offer on the lesser side of the ballpark figure may be enough to wet Dempsey’s appetite.
Sentiment and loyalty are potential trump cards for Fulham. Having nurtured Dempsey into the world-class player he is today, the American may want to repay the faith.
CHANCE OF STAYING: 30%
It’s looking as though Arsenal will be Dempsey’s next London home, but things can change very quickly in the transfer market and Fulham will believe they have the artillery to outgun the Gunners. Liverpool and their American influence are in the running, but it seems the battle is more likely to be played out by the London neighbours. A dark horse could emerge from the shadows at any moment too, with numerous other clubs no doubt casting their eye over Dempsey's epic rise. It’s game on for the signature of Dempsey, the American beauty.