by A.J. Coltrane
Clint Dempsey! And I couldn’t be happier about it! The Sounders inked the #1 or #1a USMT player for the rest of this season and three years beyond it.
Grant Wahl, on how the deal got done:
…He was up for coming back to MLS, but the only teams he was interested in playing for were Seattle, Los Angeles and Toronto. What’s more, Dempsey’s side was asking for a huge financial commitment: $40 million at first. According to a source with intimate knowledge of the deal, Seattle countered with a first offer of $30 million — $20 million of its own money and $10 million from the league — including the transfer fee to Tottenham.
Los Angeles and Toronto were also interested in ponying up for Dempsey, multiple sources said, but Toronto (which is working on its own Designated Player deals) accepted that it was better for the league if Dempsey were playing in a U.S. city. Moreover, Los Angeles is expected to announce soon that it has filled its maximum three DP slots with the extension of Omar González’s contract.
“I think it was important that [Dempsey] ended up … how do I say this politely? … not in Los Angeles,” said Roth. “Because from a perception standpoint it would make MLS look essentially like a one-team league when it came to important international players. The Red Bulls are probably in there as well. But if not us, who? We double the attendance of everybody else [in MLS]. We’re in the top 25 in the world in attendance. I had promised the team if there was an available star player we would get him, and I thought he was a perfect match for Seattle.”
From July 18 to July 20, Seattle’s owners put together their best possible offer, and with Durbin handling the negotiations a deal took shape that involved a total commitment of $33 million. The transfer fee for Tottenham would end up being $9 million, and Dempsey’s three-and-a-half year playing contract with Seattle would end up paying him a total of $24 million — or $6.86 million per year, breaking David Beckham’s MLS record salary of $6.5 million. (Keep in mind that Beckham also earned a percentage of ticket and jersey sales.)
Pretty awesome. Dempsey is my favorite U.S. player. He’s 30, so the Sounders get his late prime plus additional tread left on the tires. As of today, he’s the probably the best player in the league.
The Sounders offense is going to be scaaaarrrry! Dempsey and Eddie Johnson supported by Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle, Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales, Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonzo… that’s a ton of talent.
I’ll say it again! Awesome!