Between club and country — MLS and the World Cup — Clint Dempsey has played something like 126 soccer games since Seattle bought him from Tottenham. Okay, maybe that number’s off a little, but he’s played a lot of the football, logged a lot of the minutes, and hasn’t had much of the rest. Thank God, the offseason’s approaching.
Or is it? Perhaps this is just another example of “tabloids just gonna tabloid,” but the idea of the reigning Captain America returning to England is starting to garner a few column inches. Again.
Fulham’s no longer in the Premier League (and Spurs, well), but Frommer’s “Best Place for Americans to To Earn a Soccerball Paycheck,” Aston Villa, has been linked. So has Stoke City, though there’s no word as to whether ‘rot in the reserves’ (Maurice Edu, Brek Shea) or ‘not get a crack at his preferred position’ (Geoff Cameron) has been used to entice “Deuce” to the Britannia.
Villa seems like a decent fit, with Dempsey potentially providing Paul Lambert’s counter attacking team a link between a stalwart midfield and some capable attackers. But questions, oh are there questions.
First, will Clint actually be better than he was last winter at Fulham? Because he was, to use a technical term, terrible. Even at his best, it’s unclear how much Villa can really use him, given the team has Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, and Christian Benteke. Is training for six weeks in Birmingham really worth the trouble?
For Dempsey, it might not be any trouble, but why would a 31-year-old who’s been described as “run down” at points in each of the last two seasons considering an increase in workload? Would this just be about the competition? The boredom of the post-holidays offseason?
Would it be a Jurgen-thing? About players pushing themselves at all times? Regardless, do any of these rationales justify the risks (fatigue, injury) and outweigh merely putting in some more time on the treadmill, or in the pool?
At this point, it’s all speculation, and tabloids are gonna tabloid, particularly when idiots like me are given access to a mouse. But at a down point in the World Cup cycle, is there a reason for any U.S. men’s national team veteran to spend his winter in Europe? Unless you’re looking for a move or are one of those insufferable types that can never sit still, relax. Enjoy the family. Break out the tackle box. Get addicted to Football Manager, like the rest of us.
Just don’t spend winter in Birmingham, especially if you’re a 31-year-old who’s piling on the miles.