Coming off a historic season at Fulham FC, Clint Dempsey looked set to make a big move. That move appears to be to Fenway Sports Group-owned Liverpool FC, according to multiple reports out of England.
On Monday, the Daily Mirror reported yesterday that Liverpool were ready to offer £7.5 million to Fulham for Dempsey. Now, the transfer looks to be imminent according to numerous reports and odds makers Sky Bet are placing a Dempsey move to Liverpool by the end of the summer at a near certain 1/5.
Dempsey, a former New England Revolution star midfielder, led Fulham in scoring last season and finished tied for fourth in the English Premier League with 17 goals. His impressive play earned him interest midseason from clubs, but no January transfer was forthcoming.
After the best season of his career, Dempsey admitted he was hoping to move to a more successful club – Fulham finished ninth of 20 in the Premier League last season.
“I am grateful for everything Fulham have done for me, some of the best memories I have in soccer have been there, but the fact remains that I want to play in Champions League,” Dempsey told the Guardian in May. “I want to play at the highest level possible. I want to do as much as I can in my career and look back and say I made the most of all the opportunities I have had. I am always going to want to play in Champions League.”
Liverpool, which recently named Brendan Rodgers as manager, won’t give him a Champions League chance yet. The club that shares the same owners as the Boston Red Sox, only qualified for the Europa League – the secondary club competition in Europe – next year, a competition Fulham reached the final of during the 2009-2010 season. In fact, Liverpool finished the 2011-2012 season with an identical record (14-14-10, 52 points) to Fulham, only claiming eighth on goal differential.
But, Liverpool has a history that suggests they’ll be back in contention again soon. With five Champions League titles to their name, Liverpool is the most successful English club in European competition. The Reds last won in 2005 and made the final again in 2007. Until the 2009-10 season, Liverpool, a part of the Premier League’s “Big Four”, were ever present in the top four of the Premier League – the Champions League spots.
Now the club appears to be hoping Dempsey is the man to help bring them back to their former glory. The star U.S. International already left a legacy at Fulham, scoring 50 Premier League goals, the most in club history and the most ever for an American. He was named Fulham ‘Player of the Season’ for the second straight year and according to Opta Stats, he scored or assisted on 54% of Fulham’s goal last season.
Dempsey joined Fulham in January of 2007 after spending three years with the New England Revolution where he scored 25 goals and added 14 assists in 71 MLS games. He appeared in two MLS Cup finals with the Revs, was a two time MLS Best XI selection and the 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year.
The Nacogdoches, Texas native has appeared 87 times for the U.S. National Team and is fourth all-time in goals with 27. Dempsey is a two time Honda Player of the Year (2006, 2011), as the best player on the National Team and two time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year (2007, 2011) as the best American soccer player.
Should Dempsey’s move to Liverpool happen quickly, fans of the player from his New England days might get a chance to see him on Wednesday, July 25th, at Fenway Park when Liverpool takes on AS Roma in a preseason friendly.