When the Seattle Sounders FC signed United States Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur in August of 2013, wording was placed into his contract allowing him to seek a loan during this offseason. Dempsey ended up choosing to go back to Fulham FC where he spent six seasons making 225 appearances and scoring 60 goals.
Demspey stated that he chose Fulham for ”a lot of different things. I just wanted to be back playing at the highest level, get back to top form and get back to helping the team where they are not where they want to be in the table.” He was eligible to play for Fulham on New Year’s Day but did not make his first appearance until the FA Cup clash with Norwich City on Jan. 4. The match ended in a draw with Dempsey playing the full 90 minutes.
Going into Wednesday’s match with Liverpool, Dempsey has two more chances to play for Fulham. As of now, Dempsey has made six appearances out of the possible 10 logging 475 minutes of 930 total or 51 percent — a number that would place him seventh among Fulham outfield players during the loan period. Dempsey also has no goals nor assists and only one shot on target in those appearances.
Fulham is not any better off than they were before Dempsey joined the club as they have earned four points out of a possible 20 available in the league during that time. They are still bottom of the table though still in striking distance to jump out of the relegation zone.
These numbers are just showing how awful an idea this loan was. Dempsey should have stayed in the United States to participate in the National Team’s January camp where he could have further developed his rapport with the other domestic based players. Jurgen Klinsmann could have kept a first-hand account of Dempsey’s fitness levels while pushing him at his own pace.
Once that camp was done then he could have gotten an entire preseason to work with Sigi Schmid and his fellow Sounders FC teammates. This is the time when chemistry is developed — something that is even more important with all of the changes happening for the Sounders during the offseason. Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson are gone and replaced with Kenny Cooper and Marco Pappa; the need for a good start will be paramount for Seattle after the disastrous end to season in 2013.
It’s understandable why Dempsey wanted the loan after going from preseason training mode with Tottenham to a playoff push with Seattle. This offseason would have been the perfect time for him to take a breather and get his head on straight for the upcoming FIFA World Cup. He is the captain of the team currently, and something better than his best will be needed for the United States to have any glimmer of hope in advancing to the knockout rounds.