Clint Dempsey won't be going to a UEFA Champions League team. He almost went to Aston Villa, a team more likely to end up in the League Championship than Champions League, until he put his foot down. He won't be going to Liverpool, which had its late bid rejected as being too low.
After a day of drama, Dempsey, who make it clear he didn't want to play for Fulham any more, ended up staying in London. The 29-year-old Texan joined London rival Tottenham, pending the results of a medical exam, for a fee reported to be 6 million pounds ($9.5 million).
As the summer transfer window was closing, it looked for a while more likely that Dempsey might be headed to Aston Villa or Sunderland rather than Liverpool or Arsenal. The transfer fee was a "reality check," wrote Jeff Carlisle, for a player fourth in voting for the 2011-12 EPL Player of the Year.
The fee was a fraction of what some other big names have gone for, but it reflected the fact that Dempsey will be a free agent at the end of his season and his declaration that he didn't want to re-sign with Fulham limited its leverage to command a decent price for The Deuce.
Tottenham only missed out on a berth in the 2012-13 Champions League because Chelsea claimed the fourth English berth in the competition as its defending champion. Dempsey's move to Spurs allows Dempsey and his family to remain in London. But despite the exit of Luka Modric to Real Madrid and Rafael van der Vaart, Dempsey will find competition for playing time from the likes of Aaron Lennon on the right side of midfield and newcomers Moussa Dembele, his former Fulham teammate, and Gylfi Sigurdsson, the Icelandic free-kick specialist.