The real question that has risen this weekend at Tottenham is why exactly did Clint Dempsey move back to the MLS with Seattle Sounders? The move, worth just over $9 million, comes only a year after the American left Fulham for Tottenham in order to pursue his dream of playing in the Champions League. At present that dream would still be alive, regardless of Gareth Bales long term future at the club, as Tottenham continue to grow as title hopefuls under Andre Villas Boas. So that what changed?
That part is still very much unknown. At 30 years old, Dempsey still had a huge part to play at Spurs. His ability to play in several positions from midfield to the wings to a central striker made him a valuable asset to have in any squad and his uniquely direct approach to his game saw him consistently be one of the most exciting players in the league. For those two reasons alone you would have to believe that Dempsey was still very much in Andre Villas Boas plans, despite Tottenham strengthening in several key forward positions.
Perhaps for Dempsey, the lure of a move back home was too tempting and he felt that he should go now whilst he still has something to offer the league than in say three to four years time when he would be more likely to be going for one last paycheck. Certainly it’s not about the money right now. Granted the MLS is growing in stature but it cannot compete just yet with the financial clout of the Premiership. Going home for personal reasons looks more plausible but for the boy from Texas, Seattle is a long way away. The Sounders are a team in transition, having only joined the league in 2009 but the acquisition of Dempsey, along with other designated players Obafemi Martins and Mauro Rosales and a batch of talented US players, the three times US Open Cup champions are building a squad capable of challenging for honours on all fronts. Adding Dempsey, the current US Captain certainly helps their cause and will give the team a much needed boost for this season, with the team currently languishing in 7th place in the Western Conference.
Regardless of the reason behind his move, Dempsey is looking forward to kick starting this new chapter of his career:
“I am very excited about coming back to the MLS and thrilled to be joining Sounders. Having recently played in Seattle with the national team, I experienced the incredible atmosphere and the passion from the supporter’s first-hand. It’s going to be an honour to represent the fans in Seattle.”
The Premierships loss is the MLS’s gain as the expanding league picks up a quality player, still very much in his prime. Dempsey has built a successful career and will be remembered fondly by Fulham fans and Tottenham fans for his overall contribution to their clubs as well as to the league. Dempsey’s return to the MLS comes at an exciting time not just for Seattle but for the MLS as interest and crowds continue to grow within the league. One game away from 100 caps for his country, Dempsey has the potential of being the Beckham of Seattle by helping to inspire the next crop of US youngsters to follow in his footsteps and become US legends as well.