I would sign Clint Dempsey in the summer. This is, of course, assuming I’m managing Manchester United. Why would I wanna manage anyone else?
Sounds crazy – signing Dempsey, not me managing United – but if you think about it, it totally makes sense.
I’ve been a big fan of the American midfielder for the longest time – he works incredibly hard (like Park Ji-Sung hard), is an intelligent yet tenacious player, can play in any midfield position, has fantastic athletic ability, and scores goals.
His two goals last night made him Fulham’s all-time top scorer in the Premier League (and finally justifying my calls to sign him). He now has 13 goals overall, and 10 in the league.
Ten goals might not seem like much, but Fulham have battled relegation for most of the season; and to put it in even starker perspective, those ten goals account for a quarter of all of Fulham’s league goals this season!
The only midfielders to have scored more than him are Kevin Nolan, Rafael van der Vaart and Florent Malouda, but Nolan and van der Vaart have been more or less converted into second strikers, and Malouda plays for Fulham’s rather more prolific neighbours.
Apar from being a useful dribbler, he also packs a thunderous shot with both feet, scores regularly with his head, isn’t afraid to get stuck-in with the tackles, and can produce the odd moment of magic. Just think of that chipped goal against Juventus in last season’s Europa League.
More importantly, Dempsey also has the mentality of a typical United player – he never gives up. He has that street-wise swagger and unbreakable self-belief bordering on arrogance that so many American athletes have, and the Old Trafford faithful love that.
He once played on for two games with a broken jaw, and only stopped when the team physio figured it out for him.
But I’d sign him not just because of his abilities. It also makes sense financially. He has two seasons left on his Fulham contract, so signing him wouldn’t cost too much. I’d say a fair price would be around 10 million.
And just think about the marketing opportunities in the US! Shirt sales there alone would make the deal worthwhile, and it would coincide perfectly with United’s American tour this summer.
The downside would be that he might not wanna move to a club where he’s not a first-team regular. Players like Park Ji-Sung, Michael Carrick and John O’Shea might help convince him that Alex Ferguson’s rotation policy would mean a fair share of games for him, but he’s still got a pretty steady gig going on now at Fulham.
But if I was the manager, I’d think it’d be worth a shot. 1) He might just be interested in picking up a few trophies (whether he’s a first team starter or not), 2) he won’t cost a fortune, 3) he’d help create a new fan base in the US, and 4) to top it all off, he’s a good, versatile and mentally strong player that could really add depth to the squad.