The story of Liverpool and Clint Dempsey has already become a bit of a saga and to be honest it’s not even really been that long since they were linked with him. With NESN (a channel/site that is also owned by those that are in charge at Liverpool) last week stating that Liverpool had signed Clint Dempsey and a rebuttal from Fulham stating no deal had been done the transfer has already been propelled to the back pages before there was anything really to report! That same day Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers then released the following statement confirming interest in Fulham’s Clint Dempsey:
“Clint is a player we’ve enquired about, it is as simple as that, Ian Ayre, our managing director, has spoken with the club to see what the position is. That is where we’re at. He’s a very talented player but we don’t like to talk about other clubs’ players.”
Never before have Liverpool commented like this on a player – more over this was to paper over NESN’s errors earlier in the day. So that’s where we are at the moment – it looks as though this deal is dependant on player swaps (or even sales) with Charlie Adam mooted to be going over to Fulham in a cash plus player deal for Dempsey. The fact that there is proven interest in Clint Dempsey justifies a bit of analysis on the most high-profile American International in the Premier League (all the Premier League stats are from this website which you can subscribe to here!)
We’ve asked our Twitter followers on the @AnfieldIndex twitter account once again and they’ve asked to compare Dempsey to the top strikers in the league (Dempsey came fourth in the top scoring ranks) plus Liverpool’s own Luis Suarez. They’ve also asked, especially @mihail_v, that we compare to the wide forwards Gervinho, Sturridge, Sinclair and we’ve added Dirk Kuyt for the Liverpool comparison side. A lot of people will ask why players like Walcott or Nasri etc are not compared also but @mihail_v (a member of this website and tactical expert at the brilliant Tomkins Times website) explains it best on Twitter when discussing the value of adding Gervinho over Walcott:
Walcott is mainly heading down the line, providing width and running on the balls. Gervinho (playing on the left) is aiming to roam infield and act as additional attacking player between the lines/in the last third. (Same as Dempsey)
On Nasri, Silva, Mata & co:
…from a pure tactical point of view they are wide ball-players/playmakers/creators, not pure wide forwards.
Clint Dempsey compared to Top Premier League Strikers
The first table below compares Clint Dempsey to strikers: As you can see in terms of comparing the shooting and chance conversion statistics there was really no way that Clint would be better than van Persie, Aguero or Rooney last season. However even though he comes off worst in three metrics overall – he betters Luis Suarez in four of them. His shooting accuracy, conversion rate and clear-cut conversion rate was far better than Luis’s.
We cannot ignore the fact that Clint played the majority of the season on the left side of midfield and taking that into consideration Clint Dempsey’s stats here are very, very impressive as he’s got very close to matching most of the strikers whilst playing in this position. Our positional chart later will show how impressive Clint is when he starts as a striker. If you don’t like viewing stats in tables here are the stats in line charts:
The line chart above shows how impressive the top three strikers were last season (the lower value is better here) but it was only the mins per goal metric that caused Clint Dempsey and Luis Suarez to lag behind these three players. Luis started all of his games as a striker but had issues converting his chances. Clint Dempsey’s 195 mins per goal is better than ANY Liverpool player last season. He also did this playing the majority as left-sided midfielder/forward. From a mins per shot and shot on target perspective there is not too much between all five players.
Chart 2 is the opposite – the higher value is better and Dempsey’s accuracy is better here and Suarez’s stats fall sharply in contrast to all others. Rooney out-performs all of his rivals in this whilst Suarez has the worst stats out of those compared. Clint Dempsey is very close to van Persie and Aguero in these metrics in apart from chance conversion.
Clint Dempsey compared to Premier League Wide Forwards
The following table displays the stats for Clint Dempsey in comparison to Sturridge, Sinclair, Gervinho and Dirk Kuyt:
Clint Dempsey pretty much clears up here and tops five out of the seven statistics on display whilst Gervinho tops the other two. Whilst not being top in creativity he scored most often, shot most often, hit the target most often and his conversion of both regular and clear-cut chances was also the best. Dirk Kuyt didn’t do very well in comparison and if Dempsey does join he’d be taking up the slot that Dirk has vacated and looking at these stats he’d definitely be an upgrade for Liverpool.
Dirk’s chance conversion and clear-cut chance conversion stats were very poor last season. Gervinho was most creative and most accurate at shooting whereas Sturridge was neither the best or worst in any of the statistics. Scott Sinclair didn’t look too good in these statistics as a wide forward either – and with age on his side he can only get better but Clint Dempsey would be the right option for Liverpool at the moment.
These stats are also reflected in the following line charts:
Dirk Kuyt’s stats are so poor that his mins per goal doesn’t even appear on the chart – it’s off the charts so to speak – in a bad way!
Clint Dempsey out-shines the other wide forwards in both line charts above whilst in comparison Dirk Kuyt did well – erm – a word that would probably be edited out on this site when this article gets reviewed!
Clint Dempsey’s Positional Flexibility
One of Clint Dempsey’s qualities is his ability to play anywhere in the forward positions and be able to deliver results. He’s scored in five of the six positions he started for Fulham last season (all five displayed below). The illustration I’ve put together shows this below (stats via WhoScored.com):
Impressively, in five starts as a centre forward Clint Dempsey scored five and combined with the attacking mid role he achieved eight goals in ten starts (certainly very impressive when broken down like this). Starting in the left midfield position Dempsey achieved seven goals and five assists in 23 starts which translates to him contributing towards a goal for Fulham just over a goal every two games whilst he only played two games at centre-midfield (one goal) and the solitary game at right-midfield (a goal and an assist). The stats are impressive – Liverpool would take the 7 goals and five assists at left midfield as it’s – err – seven goals and five assists more than a certain Stewart Downing!
If Clint Dempsey was to sign you’d be able to inter-change Borini, Suarez and Dempsey in any of the front three positions with ease creating a fluent strike force. We think it would be a very interesting addition to the side as he’s able to play in so many positions and last season he was very, very impressive for Fulham. It’s definitely a signing we’d like to see at Anfield.
Clint Dempsey’s Off-Pitch Attraction
Clint Dempsey is impressive statistically as an attacking force but that is not the only place where he would help Liverpool Football Club. Off the field he would raise the awareness of the club in the United States which is a market that Liverpool FC would want to really take advantage of.
Shirt sales and advertising revenue options would open up across the pond for Liverpool if they signed Clint Dempsey as he’s the most recognisable/impressive player in the national team right now – especially after his performances for Fulham last season.
Should Liverpool acquire Clint Dempsey?
AnfieldIndex would say “Yes”. Clint Dempsey, even at 29 years of age, would be an exciting addition to Liverpool FC and as we’ve stated he’d add a lot to the club on and off the pitch. He was also name dropped by the owners at the end of the season so maybe he’s been sounded out? Rumours of Arsenal also being in for him have also dried up putting Liverpool in the driving seat however with one year left on his contract it seems as though the £10m fee Fulham are asking for is a problem. Once Liverpool conclude some sales, rumours of Aquilani being sold and with Carroll looking likely to leave, this transfer may be one of those to go through and we’d welcome it.
All of the stats from this article (unless stated) have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) also read about new additions to the stats centre.