AC Milan = American Club Milan?

Steven Gerrard of England tackles Clint Dempsey of USA..FIFA World Cup 2010 Group C..England v USA..12th June, 2010.

As always, it pays to take all off-season transfer rumors with a grain of salt.  But one rumor within the realm of possibility suggest a move of pure genius by the Rossoneri.

Yahoo Sports is reporting that Fulham star and American national team member Clint Dempsey has been targeted by AC Milan for a potential transfer bid.  The club reportedly has been impressed with Dempsey’s play in England and South Africa, enough so to pay roughly $12 million to add him to their roster.  His match-winning goal in Fulham’s defeat of Juventus in the Europa League also proved to Milan scouts that he could play against Serie A’s best.

Dempsey has been successful in his three year stint with Fulham.  Last season he scored seven goals in 29 Premier League matches, and his Juventus goal has been referred to as the most famous goal in Fulham history.  Internationally, Dempsey’s profile has never been higher, scoring the “Hand of Clod” goal against England and drawing the match-tying penalty kick in the U.S.’s loss to Ghana in this year’s World Cup.  With Roy Hodgson leaving Fulham for Liverpool, now is a good time for him to leave.

But within the context of AC Milan’s actions the past two years does it become clear how genius a signing of Clint Dempsey would be.  From a tactical perspective, Dempsey’s move to AC Milan would simply add him to a list of high-profile strikers the club already possesses.  He would battle up-front for playing time with Ronaldinho, Borriello, Pato, and maybe Huntelaar.  The midfield is equally crowded, but for a team that underachieved last year Dempsey could compete for time.

But the significance is that Dempsey is not just another striker, he is an American soccer star.  Remember that AC Milan last year signed Oguchi Onyewu, the injured American defender who is playing “for free” this year because of his injury.  A healthy “Gooch” is a valuable addition to the defensively challenged AC Milan, but more importantly he is also very popular among US soccer fans.  A Dempsey signing would mean two American stars on the pitch for AC Milan, increasing the clubs already high visibility among American fans.

American soccer fans, especially those converted by the last two World Cups, are looking for international squads to pull for and follow when the World Cup ends.  I suspect many will gravitate to teams with American stars – witness American fans of Everton.  Maybe this is not AC Milan’s primary reason for signing two Americans (they are very talented after all) but the ability to market two of the country’s most popular players could lead to tapping a new market.  Imagine the potential sales of Dempsey AC Milan jerseys.

Also factor in AC Milan’s travel schedule.  This year the club played a friendly in a near-sold out RFK Stadium against a dreadful DC United team, as well a May 30 friendly in Chicago.  Last season the club teamed up with Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Club America to play in the World Football Challenge, which allowed the Rossoneri to play in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Foxborough.  While it may be coincidence, the US friendlies combined with the signing of two American stars shows a strategy of tapping into a rich American soccer market.  And the strategy is a good one that could make one of the world’s richest soccer clubs even richer.

0 thoughts on “AC Milan = American Club Milan?”

  1. Overrated no technical skill having player who dive’s to much and flop’s on the ground with just the littlest of touches as seen in the world cup,garbage player..

  2. Although I don’t really agree with Ed, I think that Clint Dempsey could be a good player for AC Milan, but it would’nt be a genius acquisition for them. I’d much rather have someone like Cavani for instance, but I think Dempsey will learn a lot from them if he joins them.

    1. The biggest markets are in Southeast Asia & the Pacific as the South Koreans, Chinese and Indonesians are seeing growth in popularity of football.

      Chinese alone well over a Billion people so you can imagine if just a certain percentage followed the game. That’s why English teams have in recent years scheduled trips to the Far East.

      Obviously US market is growing but this is more of a saturated market in the sense the NFL, NBA and MLB will be Kings for a while. I think football can compete with NHL since Hockey is a limited market.

  3. I agree Niccolo, tactically it wouldn’t be the best move. But from a marketing perspective I think it would be a great move to take a bigger share of the American soccer market and fans.

    1. Yes, I didn’t think about the marketing move right away, but in the end that’s what they’re going for. They got Onyewu, then the American tour (World Soccer Challenge?), this would be the third step in a smart marketing campaign.

  4. Hmmmmmm….I thought Milan would want to build their squad to win CHAMPIONSHIPS. Dempsey is definitely not the player to take them back to the next level. And speaking of Gooch, he knew he was getting the boot so that’s why he wanted to play for free. You better step it up this year!

    1. I agree with you BD, you make quite a few good points. Dempsey isn’t the player that will win the scudetto for AC Milan, they need to look at world class players like Fernando Torres etc.

      And about Gooch, he could’ve been quite useful having just come out of a great Confederations Cup, but the injury ruined the season for him.

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