For as many transfer windows as I can remember, Fulham have always had to endure negative speculation regarding the departure of key players. Brede Hangeland and Mark Schwarzer have often been linked with the more illustrious sides in the league, whereas this summer attention has shifted towards Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele. The Craven Cottage outfit have remained stubborn as vultures circled around their star men however, and resultantly held on to most of their sought after players with very minimal fuss.
That is of course until this summer and the circus that has arisen surrounding the transfer of Clint Dempsey. With the US international having apparently had his head turned by interest from Liverpool this summer, he refused to play in Fulham’s opening day game in an attempt to try and push through a move to the Merseyside club. Now, after complaints to the FA, slanging matches between the two clubs and a complete isolation of the player by Fulham, it seems Liverpool’s interest may no longer be as pertinent as it once was. Dempsey now looks to miss out on his dream move, and faces a transfer to Sunderland as his only potential escape route out of Craven Cottage, with his position at Craven Cottage seemingly untenable.
It is difficult to feel sympathy for Clint Dempsey, as he now faces what looks to be a sideways move in his career. By going on strike, he has betrayed the club which took a punt on him six years ago and have since paid him handsomely. Fulham, ultimately, have provided a foundation for him to establish himself as one of the most recognizable figures in the Premier League. Whereas the aforementioned players have shown a great deal of respect to a club despite speculation from some of Europe’s elite sides, Dempsey had already decided he was off to Liverpool despite the Anfield club never actually registering an official bid.
Whilst Dempsey has made himself look very silly in the wake of this debacle, it begs the question as to whether or not Liverpool need him anyway. After watching the Reds performance against Champions Manchester City on Sunday, I think it would be difficult to find a place for the American in the first eleven.
The enigmatic Luis Suarez looks set to lead the line for Liverpool this season, whilst new signing Fabio Borini and teenage sensation Raheem Sterling have both impressed on the flanks. If Dempsey was to operate in midfield, he would have to replace the impressive Joe Allen or legendary midfielder Steven Gerrard as one of the systems two attacking midfielders. With new signings Nuri Sahin and Oussama Assaidi, Dempsey would face quite the task to nail down a regular first team place. Of course, a side like Liverpool who are looking to challenge on all fronts would require a lot of squad depth, and Dempsey would definitely improve the overall squad. That is without question.
But Brendan Rodgers looks to be trying to build a young, hungry Liverpool side. In the wake of Dempsey’s recent conduct, coupled with the fact he is approaching thirty years of age, you have to wonder if the new Liverpool manager is having second thoughts about how the American would fit into his plan. Plus, for a club that has undoubtedly overspent on transfers in recent years, you have to wonder if there are some concerns surrounding the £10m asking price Fulham have placed on the player.
The club seems to be crying out for another out-and-out striker to take some of the pressure off Suarez. Whilst Dempsey would no doubt add some goals, he could be deprived of the freedom in the Rodgers system that he received at Fulham, which could in turn hamper his ability to get into goal scoring positions. For that reason, I can’t help but feel that Liverpool’s time, focus and money could be better utilized elsewhere.