Tottenham: Dropping the Deuce, Clint Dempsey
When word hit that Major League Soccer was in talks with Tottenham Hotspur to bring Clint Dempsey back to the USA I thought it was a joke. To me there was no way that Dempsey would leave a team that is challenging for Champions League football to return home to MLS.
But when I read from Spurs official twitter that they had agreed terms to sell Dempsey back to MLS, I had a change of heart. It’s no surprise to people that are close to me and whom I talk football with that I am a huge supporter and also a huge critic of Dempsey.
For all his immense talent, he also gives off an aura of arrogance. I had been slammed in an article I wrote for EPLTalk (now WorldSoccerTalk) where I criticized the season that he was having at Tottenham and now it seemed like he wasn’t willing to adapt his play style to suit that of AVB.
I had always hoped Dempsey would achieve heights no other USA player has in club football, but it seems he won’t with his move to MLS. That’s not to say MLS is a bad league, as much as I rag on it with my friends it has seen the quality of play and players improve immensely over the past few years.
To me it seemed like the move signaled that Deuce had been defeated. For all his aspirations of playing in the Champions League and doing bigger things with his career, it seems like they won’t come to fruition. Dempsey returning to MLS doesn’t signal the end of his career though like many have stated.
Clint still has possibly another World Cup in him after the 2014 one, and he is also the captain of the USMNT. He is capable of performing at high level when he needs to, but isn’t consistent when he needs to be. His season at Tottenham didn’t end terribly, he scored 12 goals in all competitions. But what I think really hurt him was that he wasn’t a guaranteed starter like he was at Fulham.
Dempsey is what many say he is, a medium sized fish that is fit for a medium sized pond. At Fulham he basically overachieved, bringing them to a Europa League final. There he was a medium fish in a little pond, but when he moved to Tottenham it seemed like the spotlight got brighter and Deuce couldn’t quite handle it.
Maybe it was that fans had too high of expectations for him. Coming off of a stellar season at Fulham it was hoped he would carry that form into the season at White Hart Lane, but that never happened. The move to MLS puts Dempsey right back where he needs to be to thrive, in a medium sized pond.
He has the chance now to be THE face of MLS. Adding a name known worldwide such as his is big for MLS. He isn’t in his prime anymore, more-so at the tail end of it, but he along with fellow stars Henry, Keane, Cahill, Donovan, and many others add excitement to a league that was lacking it for a long time.
His move to MLS is what the league needed. Arguably the biggest American soccer star not named Donovan bringing his talents back to where he was discovered.