The Clint Dempsey transfer saga is finally over. The former New England Revolution star midfielder/striker is on his way to Tottenham Hotspur after Fulham FC agreed to a reported $9.6 million transfer fee on Friday.
Friday was the transfer deadline in England and Dempsey reportedly drew late offers from Tottenham, Liverpool FC and Aston Villa. Dempsey opted to join Tottenham over Aston Villa, while Fulham couldn’t agree to a deal with Liverpool according to reports.
“”To play under [Tottenham head coach André Villas-Boas] and play for this club is a dream come true. I want to make the most of it,” Dempsey told Tottenham Hotspur’s official Twitter. “There are a lot of great players here, I’m looking forward to training and playing with them”
Dempsey had made his desire to move from Fulham to a bigger club clear early this summer and had been training away from Fulham’s first team since preseason. He was not part of the game day squad for either of Fulham’s first two matches.
Earlier this summer reports had Dempsey headed to Liverpool, then to Sunderland and numerous other clubs, but the U.S. International’s actual destination is a club whose recent success exceeds any of the rumored teams.
Tottenham, who earlier this week signed Dempsey’s Fulham teammate Moussa Dembélé, finished fourth in England’s Premier League last season, fifth in 2010-11 and fourth in 2009-10. The Spurs finished five spots and 17 points ahead of Dempsey’s ninth-placed Fulham last season, though they have started the 2012-13 season a disappointing 0-1-1. Tottenham’s squad also includes former U.S. International goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
In May, Dempsey spoke of his desire to play in the UEFA Champions League. While Tottenham’s fourth place finish ordinarily would’ve been good enough to qualify the club for Europe’s most prestigious competition, Chelsea FC’s surprise run to win the 2011-12 Champions League gave England’s fourth spot to them. Still, Tottenham should challenge for a top four finish again this season, at least giving Dempsey some hope of playing in the Champions League next year.
For now, he’ll have to be content with a spot in the 2012-13 Europa League, where Tottenham was drawn into Group J with Italy’s Lazio, Greece’s Panathinaikos F.C., and Slovenia’s NK Maribor.
The 6-foot-1 versatile attacker, who finished tied for fourth in the English Premier League with 17 goals last season, etched his name in Fulham’s history books in his nearly six years with the club. Dempsey scored 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 in 2011-12, and 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.
What Dempsey’s role will be on Tottenham – a club that recently signed striker Emmanuel Adebayor, re-signed forward Jermain Defoe and added Dembélé – is unclear.