Turns out, some rumors are so wild they might be true. After a crazy day of speculation that included fans stalking airports, now comes an ESPN report by Doug McIntyre that Clint Dempsey really is close to finalizing a transfer to the Seattle Sounders.
The report cites two different anonymous sources saying the deal is close to being done, but does not have any details beyond that such as a transfer fee the Sounders are paying Tottenham Hotspur or how much Dempsey would be getting paid.
If the report is accurate, this would be a landmark transaction for MLS. While bigger names have moved to MLS over the past few years, none of them were United States internationals in the prime of their careers on the scale of Dempsey. Even though his 2012-13 campaign was considered a bit of a disappointment, he still scored 12 goals across all competitions with Spurs. That also included seven goals and four assists in 29 Premier League appearances.
But Tottenham has added several attacking players in the offseason and Dempsey's playing time was expected to take a major hit this year. Tottenham has been open about their willingness to move Dempsey, but coming back to MLS always seemed like a bit of a long shot.
If Dempsey were to return to the league that gave him his professional start, Seattle would make sense. The 30-year-old was openly impressed by the atmosphere at the recent Seattle World Cup qualifier and has several friends who play for the Sounders. The Sounders could also reasonably afford Dempsey, especially if they open up the roughly 25,000 seats they currently cover with tarps for home games at CenturyLink Field.
U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann has helped remove much of the stigma that once came with playing in MLS, as several domestic players have consistently received call-ups. Heading into a World Cup years, it's likely that playing time is one of Dempsey's major considerations.