Friday Kickoff: Dempsey undergoes Fulham medical; Suarez signs long-term Liverpool contract; and more

Clint Dempsey of Fulham celebrates the opening goal

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Clint Dempsey is now only days away from officially joining Fulham FC on loan.

The U.S. Men’s National Team forward underwent a medical examination Friday morning according to the club’s official Twitter account and is set for a return to Craven Cottage on a two-month loan through late February. Following the loan, Dempsey could potentially represent the USMNT in a friendly match on March 5 before returning to the Seattle Sounders for their home opener on March 8 against Sporting Kansas City.

Dempsey spent five and a half seasons with Fulham as he made his name in Europe, scoring an impressive 17 goals in the English Premier League and 23 in all competitions in his most recent season at the club in 2011-2012. After a year at Tottenham, Dempsey agreed to a move back to Major League Soccer to play for the Sounders.

Fulham is in desperate need of an injection of talent up top as they currently sit in 19th place in the EPL standings with 13 points.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Friday:

SUAREZ SIGNS NEW CONTRACT AT LIVERPOOL

Barely six months after trying to engineer a move away from Anfield, Luis Suarez has decided to remain a Liverpool player for the coming years.

The leading goal-scorer in the Premier League signed a new “long-term” contract today, pledging his future to Liverpool as they look to return to the UEFA Champions League next season. There had been rumors that Liverpool was interested in signing the Uruguayan international to a new deal but it seemed like it would be a few months before anything was signed.

“I am delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term,” Suarez told Liverpool’s official website. “We have some great players and the team is growing and improving all the time. I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool.  My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.”

Since returning from his 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, Suarez has been in the best form of anyone in the Premier League, scoring 17 goals in 11 games, including a world-class four-goal performance against Norwich City. Suarez has also added four assists for second-place Liverpool.

WILSHERE GIVEN TWO-MATCH BAN 

Arsenal will be without key midfielder Jack Wilshere for a crucial portion of the club’s busy year-end schedule.

After conducting an investigation, the FA ruled that Wilshere will serve a two-match ban for an inappropriate hand gesture he made towards Manchester City fans during Arsenal’s 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The Englishman now misses Arsenal’s next match against Chelsea at home and a trip to West Ham United on Boxing Day. The FA rejected an appeal from Wilshere.

Wilshere is eligible to return for Arsenal’s match at Newcastle on Dec. 29. The 21-year-old has made 22 appearances this season in all competitions, scoring four goals and adding one assist.

MAN UNITED REJECTS OFFERS FOR CHICHARITO

With the World Cup less than six months away, there’s plenty of speculation over the future of Manchester United forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

In the past few months, Chicharito has been subject of a number of transfer rumors about potentially leaving United, but the player’s agent confirmed that he doesn’t want to leave and that the club has even rejected offers for the Mexican international.

“About 10 days ago I met with the club and confirmed that there have been offers from European clubs, but they have no intention of accepting,” Hernandez’s agent Eduardo Hernandez told Spanish newspaper Marca. “The leaders of Manchester United are aware that (he) has had little involvement, but little by little he’s becoming more integrated. He played Wednesday against Stoke City and gave an assist. He’s only missing more match fitness.”

The 25-year-old Mexican forward has played only 14 times this season, with one goal and two assists in all competitions.

QUICK KICKS

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan has issued a “resign or be sacked” ultimatum to manager Malky Mackay, though Mackay will reportedly be on the sidelines for Cardiff’s next match against Liverpool. (REPORT)

Current Iran and former Portugal, Real Madrid, and Metrostars manager Carlos Queiroz is interested in the open Tottenham job. (REPORT)

Former Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has been approached by AC Milan for their head coaching position should Massimiliano Allegri be sacked. (REPORT)

Brazil has scheduled a friendly match in March against South Africa in Johannesburg to pay tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. (REPORT)

Germany will play Cameroon on June 1 in one of their final warm-up matches before the 2014 World Cup. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these developments? Glad to see Dempsey back in the EPL? Do you think he’ll give Fulham the lift they need? Surprised that Suarez signed a new deal with Liverpool?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Dempsey undergoes Fulham medical; Suarez signs long-term Liverpool contract; and more

  1. The Imperative Voice says:

    FFC seems to think the end date is fuzzy: “Initially it’s for January and February.”

  2. Bean says:

    His Name Is Suarez And He Wears The Famous Red
    I Just Can’t Get Enough, I Just Can’t Get Enough
    When He Scores A Volley Or Gets One With His Head
    I Just Can’t Get Enough, I Just Can’t Get Enough
    He Pens a Deal And The Kop Goes Wild
    And I Just Can’t Seem To Get Enough Suarez

  3. Bean says:

    Though nobodies talking about it, I’d bet that there is a UEFA Champions League clause in the contract. I still think it’s likely that Suarez would leave if the team did not earn a spot.

    • Vic says:

      Contracts mean nothing. You can leave/be sold the day after the contract is signed. The only thing it usually ensures is that the player will get paid more right away. However, if a contract is expiring soon and a player signs an extension thats usually a sign the player wants to stay.

    • Travis says:

      This is what I was wondering about to, I would be shocked if his agent did not get some sort of CL related clause into the contract. Suarez is a big talent and needs to be playing in the CL next year

  4. DanO says:

    What’s better for Clint and ultimately the USMNT at the WC?

    BPL level play with Fulham and then back to Seattle missing the preseason or a full preseason and early MLS campaign with Seattle?

    I’m worried that even if things go great at Fulham (no guarantee), he may have a hard time transitioning into the season with Seattle and have a dip in form before the WC.

    • Beto says:

      Agreed, i can see it not really impacting the US but making his first 360 days with SS useless.

      MLS fans are really good at seeing the bigger picture and putting country over club
      But if i was a SS fan id be a bit upset with this

      • Travis says:

        Ive made my opinion about this known and gotten blasted here. I think it is not a great idea for him to spend two months (the entire MLS preseason) away from the Sounders, it could very well end up being a repeat of his not so great performances last year. I defended him all last year saying this year would be the best judge after an actual offseason and some training camp with his team but that won’t be happening it looks like. I knew he was going to do the loan, I just had hoped it’d be one month and not two.

        • John says:

          Well he would be spending one month in the national team January camp anyway leaving one month with the Sounders.

      • Pingunça says:

        I’m an SSFC fan and your logic is no concern to me. With the moves Seattle has made already -even with openings yet to be filled,, I consider our situation to be better than we ended last year

    • GW says:

      Your reasons for worrying seem illogical.

      If Clint gets real sharp and is playing well at Fulham then Seattle will be getting back the player they thought they bought. Dempsey could not do it the first time around with Seattle because he was hurt and out of shape.

      If he then goes back to the Sounders and they have a hard time transitioning him into the team then the fault is with the Sounders. After all, they knew what his game was when they bought him.

      This is not uncommon when you have a really good player playing with lesser players. The lesser players don’t think as fast so Clint’s passes go astray. Or Clint makes runs that the lesser players fail to anticipate so Clint’s efforts come to nothing. That sort of thing.

      Ideally Clint comes back in top form and the Sounders raise their level to match him. This is why you acquire better players in the first place. If you guys did not want a higher level player why did you buy him?

      Or would prefer Clint show up for camp in lesser form and everyone can play at the same mediocre level?

      • DanO says:

        I could care less how Seattle does. I am interested in Clint’s form, specifically that he’s peaking for the WC. I think that him being on the same page with his teammates in Seattle is essential for that form to be at its best. Your points on his teammates needing to play up are well taken. I think it will be easier for his teammates to “play up” if they have a full preseason training together. Injuries and fitness are a whole different issue. Not sure if that fits your definition for logic or not, but it makes sense to me.

      • Rick says:

        I’m more interested is seeing if Clint has anything left and I have doubts. Everybody is thinking of the Clint of 4 to 5 years ago. The Clint of 2014 is older and has not really dont much in a few years now. Not saying he’s not still good but he may not have the drive he once had.

        He kind of bombed out after he left Fulham and didnt do much in MLS. We’ll see what he has with Fulham

        • GW says:

          Rick,

          “He kind of bombed out after he left Fulham and didnt do much in MLS”

          I can see getting that impression if you don’t research the situation.

          Clint came to MLS late and was hurt. As for his time after Fulham well…..

          Throw out his first season where he did not play that much and was getting adjusted.and what you find is that in four seasons at Fulham Clint averaged 43 appearances and 11 goals a season across all competitions

          At Spurs guess what? Clint had 43 appearances and 12 goals across all competitions.

          Not bad considering he had no preseason with the team and Spurs never really had a coherent,, consistent offensive plan.

          Or put it another way it was give the ball to Bale and get out of the way.

          Clint never really fit in. Then again that was true of a lot of attackers at Spurs that year.

          The fact he did as well as he did is testament to his ability to get results even with teams that have no coherent attack.
          Assuming Clint can regain his fitness he is the kind of player who can keep on scoring as he gets older since his scoring is not based on his athleticism, speed or power.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            +1, i thought he did well at spurs, and probably got out at the right time.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            although as far as the stats go, it is worth pointing out that he generally played closer to goal at spurs than he did at fulham. point still stands, though.

    • John says:

      I don’t think what Dempsey does matters if Seattle doesn’t bring in another couple midfielders. Alonso is a great destroyer but they still need someone to really play beside him and control things. They also need to replace the service of Rosales somewhere on the field. You can’t build a team by getting a bunch of goal scorers and then trying to shove them all on out of position.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think Dempsey wanted the heck out of Tottenham and away from AVB and signed any contract anyone would put before him. Considering the seeming dip in form associated with reduced PT at Spurs, I think it was wise.

      But now that he is out of that bad situation, Seattle has been less than ideal, and I think he’s restless. He seems to be framing it as a pre-World Cup loan but everyone involved seems to think there are extension options. Since Dempsey wasn’t playing great for Seattle it might also be wise.

      And the reality is MLS will be barely started before the World Cup camp callups begin. If he feels less than sharp and fit, and in fact plays for Fulham, good for him. Good for us, hopefully.

      In that context, if he has the ability to extend Fulham if it is going well, it sounds good. I think that would moot the concens about a Seattle reboot, if he only returned in the fall. But if he has to come back to Seattle and sulk and play on turf right before the World Cup, I agree, you might hand back half the value of the loan by forcing him to go through the motions. But then, he’s the one who had to leave Fulham, and whose chosen rapid exit from Spurs was Seattle and not some other MLS or European destination. At some point it may be his bed he has to sleep in, even if the value to the USMNT gets less a player in result. Is what it is.

  5. AcidBurn says:

    So Germany lines up a quality WC-bound African side to prep for their match against Ghana, and the US?

    It just makes too much sense to play an African side in the March fixture date in Europe. Get on it, US Soccer.

    • Beto says:

      Right, hopefully they have something cooking!

      Im hoping for either Nigeria or Ivory Coast in March
      Then some strong teams like France or England in the summer pre-cup

      • bbstl says:

        I’m pretty sure that we’ll play England pre-cup. They are setting up a training camp in Florida prior to going to Brazil, so they will be here.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      curious as to why you (and beto) think that playing an ‘African side’ would help us prep for ghana?

      i’m honestly not trying to insinuate anything; i just don’t ever watch african international teams (except when we play them). do they mostly all play the same way?

    • GW says:

      Acid Burn,

      Jozy, Dempsey, Donovan, Howard,and MB90, at least, will probably face Ghana. I doubt they have forgotten much about 2010.

      What exactly do “African” teams do that is so stylistically different?

  6. SAC says:

    It takes a lot of guts for Dempsey to show his face on a team he deemed not good enough for his immense talent.

    • Camjam says:

      That’s a big stretch you just made from his actual quotes to arrive at this conclusion.

    • Gary Page says:

      Such an obvious hater comment. He never said anything like that at all. He said he wanted to play CL football and remember Klinsmann kept telling his players he wanted them to challenge themselves. Also, you may notice that both teams Clint left have fired their coaches and gotten much worse. Perhaps Clint saw the writing on the wall and knew enough to get out. As for Fulham, from what you read, it seems like only Berbatov liked Jol and the fact that Fulham is taking Dempsey back shows that Fulham management doesn’t think Dempsey did anything wrong.

      • John says:

        Look Clint had a great season and wanted to get paid. I don’t see why we have to dance around it. These guys have very short careers and should get out of it whatever they can. No other job you’d blame someone for trying to get paid more for doing the same thing. However I don’t know why we have to keep pretending it had anything to do with Champion league.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        That is an interesting point, he arguably left Spurs b/c of AVB — now gone — and Jol has moved on from Fulham as well. He was a fan hero to the point of surpassing McBride as the years progressed, but we’ll see how his return is viewed. All due respect to the press hairsplitting but all most of us fans can know is he got fed up and left, wasn’t practicing with the team, and there was a whole mess of Dempsey fans on here advocating the Spurs move and ripping on Fulham in every aspect. It will be interesting.

  7. Travis says:

    Who is AVB’s agent and how does he keep getting him these high profile coaching gigs? Hes been fired at Chelsea and Spurs and yet AC Milan wants him? Makes no sense.

    • gas huffer says:

      The Peter Principle: Fail Upward…

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i thought the peter principle was where someone succeeds, then gets promoted one step above their competence level?

        also, i know it isn’t true, but i like to think the author based it on a guy he knew named peter _____ .

  8. El Gringo says:

    Chicharito is not the Little Pea — it’s Spanish for cherry picker. He needs service, like most strikers. He got chances because he was on a dominant team and so he scored goals. But I’ve always said that Dempsey’s goal total at Fulham was more impressive than Chicharito’s haul for Man U, even as everyone was raving on about Chicharito.
    His greatest accomplishment was that he even got on the pitch for Man U, so Im not surprised he is having trouble getting time now and is probably heading out. I’m also not surprised that when he plays, he is not so effective, given that the team’s overall level has dropped — high tide lifts all boats and vice versa. If he played for Sunderland, I doubt he’d have more than the 1 goal that Jozy has scored.

    Chicharito’s true, lower-than-his-image level is what we see lately with Mexico, when he is pretty ineffective, although that’s also due to the pressure from Mexico fans as well as the team’s poor level in the past year.

    When he moves on from Man U, he will go for a vastly inflated price due to the goals he cherry picked in the Sir Alex glory days, and he will not do very well, unless he goes to another dominant club and somehow gets playing time again. Mostly likely, though, if he goes to another big club, he will again face competition. And if he goes to a club where he’s guaranteed time (at least at first), it may be a club that is too pitiful to give him the service he needs to thrive. His best bet is a middle-upper level club like a Valencia maybe, which could be big enough to produce lots of chances against smaller clubs but not too big where he has teammates that are good and will relegate him to sub duty again.

  9. Steve says:

    Wondolowski > Chicharito

  10. ThatKidNandez says:

    Everton ,West Ham, & Celtic are on the hunt for Alfred Finnbogason for 5m+. Nei Lennon is after him like David Moyes was to Feillani. Rumor: Everton and Celtic are also interested in Johannsson who’s going for 2.5. Let’s hope the Everton rumor is true because Iceman would do work! Alfred has 16 goals while aron is tied for 3 with Lucas Piazon with 10 goals.

  11. or says:

    AVB must have a better agent than GOOCH

    this dude coached Porto than landed a DREAM JOB at Chelsea

    then got a smalller but still good job at Spurs and now rumored to take over 1 of the most successful clubs in world football. Outrageous. Guess you don’t need college after all

  12. John says:

    For everyone worried about Dempsey not getting enough of a preseason with Seattle would you rather he just finish out Fulham’s year and come back after the World Cup?