Destined for a future ‘top four’ move?

With the doors of the recent winter transfer window firmly slammed shut, Fulham fans can breathe a huge sigh of relief in that they kept hold of their most prized asset, Clint Dempsey. The big Texan has made waves since he arrived to the club beside the river back in 2007 from Major League Soccer. You could say he has been a revelation since his move from the Revolution; of New England of course.

But was there really any real transfer speculation circulating over Deuce’s head during the window of opportunity for many potential suitors? The answer was not really. Clubs seemed far more interested in his injury-plagued strike partner Andy Johnson.

What is more surprising is that when you look closely at Dempsey’s stats, they make for some impressive reading, questioning just why the lack of interest?

Statistics clearly show that Dempsey is the highest scoring American to have played in the Premier League. He currently boasts a tally of 43 goals for the Cottagers. What’s more is that he has struck more goals for the club than any other player in eleven consecutive seasons, and often vacates the left midfield role, failing Martin Jol’s decisions to play him as a centre forward. Still not impressed?

The football public have at times pondered whether an American with such a good pedigree could cut it at a traditional top four club, say an Arsenal or Chelsea. But in five years, no such club has got the cheque book out to acquire his services.

Let us examine his strengths; beside his innate rapping abilities. Dempsey is immensely versatile and has been used on the flanks for most of his Fulham career, but his tall 6ft1 frame has enabled him to hold the ball up well in a centre-forwards role during Bobby Zamora’s absences. It remains to be confirmed whether Dempsey will fulfil this role until the end of the season, as he did in the recent game at City, or whether Russian new boy Pavel Pogrebnyak will fill the void left by Zamora’s move to W12.

Moreover, Clint is highly experienced, winning 82 caps for Jurgen Klinsmann’s Stars & Stripes since his national team debut in 2004, earning a reputation as a hard-working professional with a never say day attitude. Surely traits such as these could be welcomed into the underachieving ranks of fellow Londoners; Arsenal and Chelsea this season?

Current TalkSport pundit Andy Gray told the Fulham Chronicle

“I never feel cheated when I see Clint play, he does it all and works extremely hard for the team”.

If we look back in Premier League history, few American’s have ‘made it’ as such at traditional top four clubs. Failing, Tim Howard’s move to Manchester United back in 2003 where he made 45 appearances, you are hard pressed to find United States internationals at the top end of English football.

American hero Claudio Reyna had a spell at Manchester City, but City have improved into a more established outfit since the start of the 00’s. Elsewhere, Everton have embraced many talents from across the pond including Joe-Max Moore, Brian McBride and currently Landon Donovan. And up the M62 at Bolton, they currently employ Stuart Holden and Tim Ream.

But the question still remains whether Dempsey will one day get a move to a club playing at the elite European level. Clint himself may harbour Champions League ambitions but first he will look to help Fulham battle through the mid-reaches of the Premier League and balance the clubs targets between survival and a top ten finish.

Is Clint good enough to move to a top four club or should he remain at the Cottage? Follow me @http://twitter.com/Taylor_Will1989

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