A huge deal by Major League Soccer as the Seattle Sounders have bought Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur for a reported $9m. That just about equals the £6m that Spurs paid for Dempsey last summer when they signed him from Fulham.
NBC Sports is reporting that the Sounders have guaranteed Dempsey $32 million over the next four seasons. Dempsey’s base salary is the largest base salary commitment a player has ever received from an MLS franchise. The $9m transfer fee is also an MLS record.
Dempsey joins a Seattle team that sits seventh in the Western Conference, 4 points behind Vancouver and before today were threatening to miss the postseason for the first time in their history. The addition of Dempsey, however, will bolster an attack that has scored only 24 goals in 19 games.
It will be interesting to see what kind impact Dempsey has on attendance when the Sounders play away from home. Will Toronto, Houston, Columbus, LA and Colorado see an increase in ticket sales like they did when David Beckham came to town?
It’s a fascinating move by the Sounders and Dempsey for a couple of reasons. One is that the axis in MLS is no longer LA or New York. Seattle with their record breaking crowds and passionate fans can now compete with the leagues two marque franchises for top players.
The revenue streams that the Sounders get from their massive attendance is starting to give them a financial advantage over other MLS clubs. It is no surprise then that the two biggest transfers this summer; the $9m for Dempsey and $4m for Obafemi Martins were both paid by Seattle.
The unknown factor in the deal is what does US national team Jurgen Klinsmann think of it? Dempsey is a critical part of the USA’s national team and I am sure that Klinsmann would have preferred that going into a World Cup year that Dempsey had went to another Premier League club for the next year.