Despite flirtations, U.S.' Dempsey, Beasley stay put
Posted: Friday August 18, 2006 4:45PM; Updated: Friday August 18, 2006 4:45PM
U.S. national-teamer Clint Dempsey isn't happy that MLS rejected a transfer offer from English club Charlton Athletc.
Grant Wahl will periodically answer questions from SI.com users in his mailbag.
When the English Premier League season starts on Saturday there will be a record 12 Americans on Premiership rosters, and yet there were nearly two more in U.S. national-teamers Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley.
The New England Revolution's Dempsey is deeply disappointed that MLS turned down a transfer offer from Charlton Athletic, which sources say put forward a formal bid worth $1.5 million for the 23-year-old World Cup goal-scorer. Meanwhile, PSV Eindhoven's Beasley told me that he nearly joined "a big team" in the Premiership on loan in the past two weeks before the deal fell through. (He wouldn't specify the club.)
Beasley also said there had been discussions about a possible move to a team in Spain's La Liga or back to MLS right after the World Cup -- Real Salt Lake and New York were potential destinations -- but he no longer expected a transfer this season.
"At this point I don't see it happening," the 24-year-old Beasley told me. "My gut feeling is I'll be at PSV this year. Then we'll see what happens in the winter or next summer."
No American had a better World Cup than Dempsey, who brought much-needed pace and confidence to the right side of the U.S. midfield starting with the team's 1-1 tie against world champion Italy. Dempsey currently makes only slightly more than $80,000 a year in his deal with MLS, which runs through the end of 2007.
"Clint Dempsey is a valuable player, and we'd like to renegotiate his agreement and keep him in the league," MLS commissioner Don Garber told me last week. "Unless these clubs offer his real value and don't discount the value he has to MLS, we have no interest."
For his part, Dempsey has no interest in renegotiating his MLS contract. "I already told [MLS] if they paid me more than Landon Donovan I still wouldn't stay," he said, referring to Donovan's $900,000 salary. "I just don't want to be in this league anymore. It's not about the money. It's about me getting better and pushing myself to a higher level. I'll be able to live with whatever the consequences may be, but I can't live with never trying to accomplish my dreams, and I can't live with somebody holding me back from that."
Like Beasley, Dempsey thinks a move during the next transfer window may be forthcoming. "If I'm lucky I could do it at Christmas," he said. "If not I'll just have to try and do it next summer. But I'm not wanting to come back and do another season in MLS."
Dempsey is currently suspended for two games by MLS after the league reviewed the tape of a high elbow he gave to Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad while jockeying for a goal kick last week. The non-whistled blow, which Dempsey maintains was inadvertent, broke Conrad's jaw.
"It's kind of funny how I'm not punished on the field, but I keep getting punished after they review the games," said Dempsey, who received another post facto suspension earlier this season after an exchange with Chicago's Gonzalo Segares. "I wouldn't say it deserved a suspension, but I do feel bad about Conrad getting his jaw broken. That was never the intention of the play."
As for Beasley, the man who assisted on Dempsey's World Cup goal against Ghana, he's now back on the training field for PSV after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury. He says he won't be starting in the team's Eredivisie opener on Sunday against NEC Nijmegen.
After a standout first season during PSV's run to the Champions League semifinals, Beasley saw his form drop in Year Two, and it only continued during a disappointing performance in the World Cup.
"But it's a new year," Beasley said. "The past six months didn't go too great for me. I think a lot of people forgot what I can do on the field and started talking about other things. But I know what I can do. I've got to fight to try to win my spot back and hopefully have a good year."
Still, the mere fact that Beasley is willing to talk about moving elsewhere shows that he isn't entirely comfortable at PSV, where new coach Ronald Koeman has replaced the man who signed him, Guus Hiddink.
In fact, Beasley says he'd have no problem returning to MLS given the right offer. "I would definitely be willing to come back at this point," he told me. "I've had two good years in Holland. Anybody who plays in a different country always dreams of coming home one day and playing in front of his family and friends, and I'm the same way. It just happened maybe a little bit sooner than most people would think. Not myself, but other people. I'd definitely be willing to come back and show that I'm still a player that can get results and do things for the team I'm playing for."
MLS-Mexican tourney still in plans for '07
According to MLS sources, negotiations between MLS and the Mexican league are ongoing for a 2007 knockout tournament between teams from the two leagues. The mid-week games would be televised on one of the Univision networks (most likely Telefutura).
Although it is not expected to happen in '07, it's hoped that the tournament winner would eventually earn a berth in the Copa Libertadores, the Western Hemisphere's version of Champions League.