The Revolution have been quiet on the transfer front during the summer months, but the team could add a player before Thursday.
General Manager Mike Burns let slip prior to the Revolution's 1-0 loss to Toronto on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium that the team is eyeing a new player. Burns didn't provide much information, other than he was not comfortable divulging whether the potential signing would be a Designated Player.
One rumor said that Lazio forward Louis Saha was the player the Revolution are interested in, though the 34-year old French striker appears keen to sign for Nice. Another report on Monday stated that Attleboro, Mass. native Geoff Cameron would join the Revolution from Stoke City. Another report stated that Charlie Davies is Foxboro-bound.
“We are looking to add before Thursday, but there’s nothing to announce yet," Burns said. "There’s a good chance that something may happen, but it’s not done.”
Burns met with reporters in the Gillette Stadium press box to discuss Clint Dempsey's return to MLS. He and the Revolution organization declined to comment on the mechanisms that Seattle Sounders FC used to acquire him from Tottenham Hotspur.
“I think first and foremost this only happens if Clint wants it to happen. He’s a tremendous player. He has a tremendous resume. He’s going to be great for this league again. I think it says a lot about him and how he views and values MLS. I think he ultimately wanted to come back and got the deal done to come back.”
Dempsey's $9 million transfer fee and four-year, $28 million contract are the highest in league history. When he left the Revolution for Fulham in 2006, he had a guaranteed salary of $86,488 a year. Dempsey was very vocal about leaving the Revolution and MLS, wanting to prove his worth and Europe and achieve his goal of playing in Champions League.
Dempsey never played for a Champions League team, though he was the Premier League's seventh best goal scorer in the past three seasons, performed well in Europa League for both Fulham and Tottenham, has scored in two different World Cups, and is now captain of the US national team.
Burns provided a small explanation as to why the Revolution couldn't re-aquire Dempsey:
“It’s difficult. If you look back to [January 2007] when he was sold, he was in the third year of his deal. He made it very clear at the time that he had aspirations and dreams to play in Europe, and both the Revs and league felt that at the time the offer was substantial enough to move him prior to the end of his contract, which we did.
That’s obviously the reason why we didn’t have the right of first refusal when he came back into the league this time.”
According to the MLS roster rules "If a team receives allocation money as a result of a player’s transfer, the team does not retain a right of first refusal." The Revolution received money for Dempsey's transaction, meaning the Revolution had no rights to Dempsey when he returned to MLS.
Dempsey's return could set a major precedent. More players who compete abroad could come to MLS at a younger age. Teams could slowly start offering bigger money for Dempsey-caliber players. Young American players could opt to stay in MLS rather than going directly to Europe out of college.
Revolution forward Juan Agudelo is rumored to be wanted by Stoke City, so it will be interesting to see what effect, if any, Dempsey's return will have on players like him. MLS isn't as competitive or storied as the Premier League, Serie A, or Bundesliga, so players will still want to experience playing in soccer's highest echelon.
Dempsey has shown that when that overseas adventure is over, MLS is a credible destination.
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