Once again Clint Dempsey finds himself in West London alongside the river Thames.
Fulham Football Club signed Dempsey on a two month loan from the Seattle Sounders. At this point in the season, Cottagers exist in relegation red. Fulham are desperate for points and goals, is Dempsey the tonic that Fulham need to maintain their 14 year run in top flight English Football? Deuce’s last two seasons at FFC would suggest his addition will be positive.
From 2010-2012 he scored 29 goals in 74 matches, quite impressive. The Fulham faithful will quickly forget Dempsey’s self-imposed exodus after the 2012 season if he can provide some of his old offensive firepower.
Dempsey is eligible to take the pitch January 1st when the transfer window opens. If Clint hits the ground running and is fit to compete immediately he could appear in as many as 11 matches. Assuming that Clint earns quality minutes, how will Fulham maximize his talent?
The best option: Clint plays through the middle behind a striker. This will allow Clint to make his clever follow up runs and use he craftiness to pounce on second ball opportunities. This takes advantage of Dempsey’s goal scoring prowess inside the 18 and also puts him in a position to track back and support the midfield, which Fulham need desperately.
In terms of goals what are the expectations for Dempsey? In a Las Vegas style over/under wager of three goals, what would you take?
Meanwhile, across the globe in Seattle, many Sounder fans are experiencing déjà vu. Dempsey’s tenure in Seattle started the same way his second stint with Fulham will commence, a preseason fit player joining a club and league that is in midseason stride. No offense to MLS but this go around Clint faces a far more superior challenge in the BPL.
Need Proof: Fulham at Arsenal January 18th. Fulham at Manchester United February 9th. Fulham host Liverpool February 12th.
Sounders fans can look at the Dempsey loan one of two ways, half full or glass half empty.
The contents of the glass half empty:
Dempsey misses valuable pre-season training and does not develop chemistry with his teammates in Seattle.
Dempsey picks up a knock and is not ready for the MLS opener against defending champs Sporting KC on March 8th, or worse, misses the season and/or World Cup.
Dempsey is fatigued after a rigorous 2014 campaign, which includes a Brazilian excursion, and come November when the Sounders need him most, he disappoints.
The contents of the glass half full:
Clint stays healthy and plays quality minutes for Fulham.
Clint regains his goal-scoring form in England and is light speed ahead of MLS competition when he returns.
Sounders FC wisely spend the money they save from the loan and improve their back line and wing players.
Believe it or not the new MLS rapidly approaches. January 19th the Sounders launch their training camp in Tukwila, WA. Sounder fans are as hungry as ever for a championship and Dempsey will absorb a bulk of that pressure.
Can the American hero handle it? Only time will tell if Deuce is the truth.