Clint Dempsey – the man to watch this season
Dempsey is the American most likely to make an impact in the forthcoming Premier League season, certainly of the outfield protagonists. It remains to be seen whether Eddie Johnson has a future at Craven Cottage, whilst Jonathan Spector is yet to make a proper breakthrough at West Ham United.
The US goalkeepers’ union is back up to four thanks to Marcus Hahnemann’s move to Wolverhampton Wanderers, although he will struggle to dislodge Wayne Hennessy. The battle for the goalkeeper’s spot at Aston Villa between Brads Friedel and Guzan should be won for another year at least by the older man. Tim Howard will be as reliable as ever at Everton.
Dempsey was allegedly the subject of a recent £4m bid from Everton, but Roy Hodgson’s apparent rejection of such a sizeable bid from a top-five club reveals how highly he rates a player who has scored the most Premier League goals for the club.
He was a regular starter last season and will again be a central figure in the Cottagers’ plans for the forthcoming campaign. The manager is yet to strengthen his team’s forward line and clearly expects Dempsey to again pose a goal threat to go alongside the all-action defensive duties that he performs across the midfield.
Dempsey is likely to miss the season opener at Portsmouth on 15th August thanks to his national team’s crucial World Cup qualifier in Mexico earlier that week, but he is sure to reclaim his starting place later in the month.
There is speculation that Dempsey will be joined at Craven Cottage by Jozy Altidore, another player who excelled at the Confederations Cup.
This is perhaps down to the club’s history of signing American players, the same reason why Everton, another favourite destination of US stars, were rumoured to be interested when he left Villarreal in January for a loan spell at Xerez. All eyes will in the meantime be on Dempsey.