The Seattle Sounders have signed Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur for a $9 million transfer fee, sources told SB Nation's Jeremiah Oshan. The agreement finalizes Dempsey's return to MLS, confirming an earlier ESPNFC report.
Seattle proved to be the only team willing to pay the $9 million fee Spurs demanded for the American. Tottenham did not want to take a significant loss on the $9.2 million they paid for him a year ago, and the Sounders paid what was asked for the 30-year-old, ending a one-year stint at White Hart Lane.
The United States captain began his career with the New England Revolution, where he spent three years before being sold to Fulham. In Dempsey's time at Craven Cottage, he scored 60 goals, with his six-year stay highlighted by a 23-goal campaign in 2011-12. That season spurred interest from bigger clubs, who could satisfy Dempsey's stated desire to play in the Champions League.
Tottenham bought Dempsey for $9.2 million. Despite the American's 12 goals, he also had his share of struggles and the club did not finish in the top four last year. When Spurs bought Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli this summer, it made it unlikely that Dempsey would see the field much in the upcoming season. With things looking bleak at White Hart Lane, Dempsey looked to make a move, and Seattle was ready to make the deal happen.
Dempsey's move to MLS should help his U.S. prospects. With the re-emergence of Landon Donovan in the Gold Cup and the prospect of Dempsey being stuck on the Spurs bench, the captain could have found himself on the outs heading into next summer's World Cup. Now he will play every week in front of one of MLS' best fanbases.
While MLS is no doubt a step down from the Premier League, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Eddie Johnson and Donovan all play in the domestic league and have had no problem performing for the U.S. Jurgen Klinsmann does not look down upon MLS, and if Dempsey is playing regularly and well for the Sounders, which he is expected to, it is impossible to imagine the U.S. manager holding his departure from England against him.
Dempsey's signing was made possible by the restructuring of Shalrie Joseph's contract to open a Designated Player spot, and will give the Sounders one of the most talented attacks in MLS. With the U.S. captain playing underneath Johnson and Obafemi Martins, Sigi Schmid's team should not have an issue scoring goals and making a run in what has proven to be a wide-open Western Conference.