Clint Dempsey: Fulham’s International Man of Mystery

BRITAIN SOCCER PREMIER LEAGUEIt is rare enough for an American outfield player to ply their trade in the Premiership and when they do there has rarely been much of an impact; Eddie Johnson for example was heralded as a top talent but failed miserably in England following his move to Fulham. But then there’s the success stories; Brian McBride was a Fulham legend and even impressed during his earlier loan spell at Everton. And then there’s arguably the best outfield player America’s ever given us – Clint Dempsey.

His name is rarely mentioned in the media as accolades going to Fulham are regularly attributed to their defence but the attacking spark of the squad, Danny Murphy aside, is Dempsey – a man whose form switches between Jekyll and Hyde personas but who, overall, is a cracking player with many talents. Dempsey is a striker by choice but usually played in a role closer to midfield by Fulham as they take advantage of his abilities – Dempsey is a great dribbler and has a fantastic first touch, and his finishing ability is great when he gets into a shooting position. If Fulham are in need of a goal or a bit of magic it is often Dempsey who provides it, gliding almost unseen into the penalty area to get his head or foot onto a pass and slot home, or even blasting in a ranged effort that nobody was expecting.

If there can be one criticism with Dempsey it is that he’s not the most consistent player in the league; Dempsey will often drift around the pitch without making any impact despite his hard-working attitude. However you could say that Dempsey’s inability to play at his best every game is because he is still playing in a team who lack quality offensively and he has been relied on too much prior to Bobby Zamora’s resurgence, and will now likely be relied on too much again as Zamora is injured. A move to a bigger club would surely be the making of Dempsey and I don’t think he’d waste the chance but the man has gone seemingly unnoticed by the big boys until recently when he was linked to Liverpool – a move that will not happen anyway as Liverpool cannot afford to buy the American.

At 26 years of age Dempsey still has his best years ahead of him and it would be fitting that a player with the abilities that Dempsey has should get a chance at the very top of the game but teams seem reluctant to try him out, if even to notice him. This will be of little concern to Fulham fans though who are enamoured with their magic-making import and are happy his seemingly invisibility has prevented bigger teams from trying to lure him away. Fulham claim the fee for Dempsey was undisclosed but sources in America claim it was $4 million which indicates that Fulham signed an absolute bargain. On his off days you’ll barely hear his name mentioned, but when he’s playing well – Dempsey is a remarkable player who deserves more credit than he gets.

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