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SI story provides details on Dempsey blockbuster

Dempsey - Edited


The deal that ultimately helped Clint Dempsey join the Seattle Sounders ultimately came together in a matter of two weeks, and saw both Major League Soccer and the Sounders work together to pull off one of the biggest moves in MLS history.

Sports Illustrated broke down the details of the deal in a story released on Monday. A story that reveals, among other things, that Dempsey was open to playing for Seattle, Los Angeles or Toronto FC, MLS paid the $9 million transfer fee to Tottenham, Dempsey has the freedom to head to Europe on loan this winter, and will be making an annual salary of $6.86 million a year, a new MLS record.

Among the other interesting nuggets in the story is the revelation that the Los Angeles Galaxy is preparing to make Omar Gonzalez a Designated Player, which is part of the reason the Galaxy weren’t an option for Dempsey.

Give the story a read and let us know what you think of the details. Shocked to hear MLS paid the transfer fee? Excited to hear the league is willing to spend big money on marquee players? Who will you be hoping your team steps up to try and land on the international market?

Share your thoughts below.

Give the story a read


  1. Honestly this whole thing is a joke, the way mls and fans try to say this is anything but shady is absurd. I honestly expect Seattle and Dempsey to receive favorable officiating and any other advantage mls can provide, it seems to be the modus operandi of the league.

  2. If he’s still a marketing draw, Dempsey will be transferred to NYCFC in 2015. Bank on it. The league is buying Dempsey for the league’s reasons. Right now he fits the league’s needs best in Seattle. That won’t be true in 2015.

  3. Honest question for those complaining about the league paying the transfer fee: Do the Sounders not already subsidize the rest of the league to some degree through revenue sharing through double the average attendance of the rest of the teams?

  4. My two cents as an observer interested more in MLS than any one particular team…

    1) In a vacuum, it makes perfect sense that MLS would foot the bill for the transfer fee. After all, they own the contract and (if my understanding is correct, and often it isn’t) in the event of a future transfer out, they collect most of the money (for the purposes of dispersing to other clubs, etc.). What doesn’t make sense is that they don’t always pay the transfer fee, even if they had a very specific regulation like “only for DPs” or whatever. So, the inconsistency is a bit of an issue for me.

    2) However, I’d be 100% ok if we found out MLS paid the $9M in the form of a long-term loan to Seattle, i.e. the Sounders have some predetermined amount of time (like, the duration of Dempsey’s time in MLS?) to re-pay that $9M, either in the form of MLS imaginary money like Allocation Money or cap space, or with just good ol’ fashioned currency. Any detractors on that idea?

  5. MLS paid the transfer fee? The Sounders didn’t have to pay MLS or any of the transfer fee? What kind of frickin league is this?

    I thought the reason Portland was out was because they couldn’t afford the transfer fee? But MLS paid it? MLS is a joke of a soccer league.

    When are we going to do away with this single entity garbage? I’m done. Not watching another MLS game until single entity is gone.

  6. The best thing about this move is that Seattle fans will now have to shut up, once and for all, with their whining about how the MLS treats them poorly. You just got handed the biggest player deal of the decade on a silver platter. Enjoy the favoritism!

  7. 50/50 calls against the flounders just became 80/20 calls. Good bye competition. With a clear vested interest in one party how can the league even speak of parity and fair play. I’m guessing the league won’t try to maximize it’s 9 million dollar investment by “guiding” Seattle into the finals?
    Does anyone really doubt the Dempsey/Donovan soap opera of a final? It’s to bad Seattle fans will never get a chance to “win a title.” RSL 2009 last team to WIN a championship in MLS history. MLS = NBA SCRIPTED !

  8. So why didn’t MLS pay the 200K for Digao, seeing that that was part of Kaka’s transfer fee anyway?
    Hope Roxy is on the phone to MLS now mentioning that they have a DP slot open and their attendance is lagging.

  9. This is not the first time MLS has paid a transfer fee nor will it be the last. Not a big deal. Seattle was willing to pay the salary that other clubs were not. It was probably a good move for Seattle although Portland griping about it is ridiculous because this would not have been a good signing for Portland (just as it would not have been a good signing for Houston). When you can only put 20,000-22,000 people in your stadium it is not as easy to absorb the cost. Seattle can market the crap out of it and get 2 and a half times that many people in their stadium which makes it feasible for them long term. Let’s not get carried away and think this automatically puts Seattle into the cup final. First, it’s still Seattle and they always under achieve in the playoffs (not just in soccer either). Second, there’s Sigi who will surely screw it up somehow and run off someone. Third, their defense is still their biggest weakness. This move does put them in the conversation with RSL in the West but I see no favoritism by MLS and I see no direct ticket to MLS Cup. Meanwhile, great move for Seattle and MLS.

    • Most rational Timbers fans understand that there’s no way we could afford Clint. The ire comes from the fact that PTFC was #1 in the allocation order, yet received nothing from the deal. Meanwhile, SSFC is gifted a $9 mil transfer DP and doesn’t so much as even drop in the allocation order.

      It really comes down to 2 things:
      – MLS should either pay ALL DP transfer fees, or none at all
      – MLS should either stick to the allocation rules, or do away with it altogether

      No more of this wishy-washy, let’s bend the rules whenever there’s big $ at stake BS.

      • DPs are always excluded from allocation (though admittedly they didn’t outline that well in the rules). Reyna’s move confirmed that.

        We also have a league denial that they paid the transfer fee. Could be an interest free loan or something else.

        You are still #1 in the allocation order.

      • Reyna wasn’t a member of the USMNT when he was transferred. It’s not really the precedent that MLS claims it to be.

      • What rules have been bent?

        Is there a rule that says your DP’s affect your allocation order?

        My understanding is if you are a DP allocation order does not apply.

        And is there a rule regarding the source of transfer fee money? If there isn’t then I see no basis for your commnet.

        Plus most leagues have the provisions to waive certain rules should they deem it in their best interests.

        When you get to run your own league I’m sure you will have such a provision.

      • Your “understanding”? See, that’s exactly what I’m saying. It’s murky at best.

        And there’s a logical basis for the transfer fee problem. Why should a team pay the fee out of pocket for a non-DP player when the league will purchase DP’s and hand them out arbitrarily?

    • Besides jersey sales, I don’t see how Dempsey adds cash to the Sounders. He’s not going to improve attendance (they already sell out, he can’t bring any more in. I suppose if e helps them win a title?) but yeah, he’ll sell a couple thousand jerseys, which will make Microsoft happy.

      • He will improve attendance for sure, you are wrong, even this year where there are only three game with substatial tickets left, but the thing they need to improve the most is tne TV contract…especially the national one.

        The Sounders want some other team to sign Chicharito. Publicly stated as much.

  10. Absolutely MLS should pay the transfer fee. Bringing a player like Dempsey (or Henry, or Beckham) is a long-term investment for the league — as Mueller says above, far longer term than the 3+ years of Dempsey’s contract. So the league pays the transfer fee to get him here and faciltates the deal for any team that can actually afford, and is willing to meet, his salary demands. In Beckham’s time, the only team that would/could do that was LA. Now Seattle has some deep pockets and Dempsey expressed a desire to go there. Believe me, as a DCU supporter, I would have loved for Clint to come to DC. And maybe if RFK was filled with 40K fans for every home game and DC had the profit that comes with that kind of attendance, it could have happened. But that’s not reality. To argue that MLS is playing favorites is, well, it’s just whining.

  11. The only way the league paying for a transfer fee is problematic from a competitive standpoint is if the next team(s) ready to shell out DP money on salary wants the league to pay a similar transfer fee and the league says no. Teams should pick and play their players and the league should facilitate transfers.

  12. Am I mistaken in remembering MLS negotiating and receiving the transfer fee for big outgoing transfers like Jozy Altidore. So would it not make sense that MLS would pay the fees to bring in the bigger names? MLS just cashed a $100 mil NYCFC check. I’m OK with some of this money going to bring talent into the league

  13. Wow. No way Dempsey was going to get that much coin in the EPL. Also, being the best US player stateside opens up a ton of marketing opportunities for him. I’m sure the deal will end up being well in the range of 15 mil. Good for him.

  14. According to bloggers, he moved for family…but he didn’t chose Houston.

    Try again guys who don’t realize Seattle was the smartest choice for him……..maybe he was looking for states that played powerball or megamillions ? What is the new theory ?

    • “According to bloggers, he moved for family…but he didn’t chose Houston.”

      Clearly, Clint thinks Houston and for that matter Dallas are not as good franchises as Seattle. That is very clear. After all he wants to move his family to the best situation for them. And it’s a lot shorter flight from SeaTac to Hobby than Heathrow to Hobby…

  15. I think the people b itching about the league paying the transfer fee are being juvenile. Its probably as simple as the league decides they want the player because exposure, money etc (new TV next year?). They decide its a good idea to put him in their biggest soccer market to maximize exposure in hopes to get a much bigger TV deal. A bigger TV deal for the league is going to help the league so much more than 3 1/2 years of a 30 year old Clint Dempsey.

    • With the big numbers coming in to MLS with the fees for expansion why not put portions of that to make the league a better more exciting landscape. If the clubs go to MLS HQ and lay out how much they want to pay a player (out of their pocket) but come up short on transfer funds, and if merchandising or other factors can give MLS a good return on their investment then that’s what should be done.
      There will come a time when the money from expansion will dry up, and then television money will hopefully be the driving force of the league and those numbers will only receive significant jumps with top end talent on display.

    • we are bitching because we want a real league with real clubs who balance their own books and pay their own wages. Not this single entity crap.

  16. Wow. So teams that pay into MLS revenues just paid for Seattle to get Dempsey? I understand they’re paying the salary, but come on. If this is going to become a regular occurrence, this can’t keep happening. Each team should spend its own money, and either there is or isn’t an allocation order, you can’t pick and choose.

    • Fixed to fit MLS: So teams that pay into MLS revenues just paid for MLS to get Dempsey?

      MLS is a single entity. MLS pays the first 367,878 (or something) of Dempsey’s salary, Seattle pays the rest. For non-DPs, all the salaries are paid by MLS. You can’t apply european club logic to MLS. Think salary cap and luxury taxes and the like that is common place in American sports that aren’t in the European game. MLS did this on purpose.

      • and we wonder why no one watches this league on TV. American soccer fans are wising up to single entity and they don’t like it.

      • Yes, but if there were no single entity in the beginning, we wouldn’t be talking about Dempsey coming to the MLS because there would be no MLS.

        However, the league has grown and more and more MLS needs to relinquish control to the clubs.

      • Think again. Single-entity prevents wealthy franchises in big markets (NY, LA) from buying the championship every year. That is the reason MLS chose this model when founded in 1996. There are no ManU, Barcelona, NY Yankees. Everyone has a shot, so long as they can attract fans.

      • Um, so MLS ponying up an $8mil gift to one of its teams and helping to pave the way by allowing restructuring of an existing contract (Joseph) in a way that is against their own salary rules is not financial favoritism?

        I disagree that prevention of NY and LA winning every year was the original reason for single entity. It was more about financial protection for all for the first years. MLS has repeatedly shown favoritism to the bigger clubs (Beckham, Henry, now Dempsey) in making sure these huge money signings are easier for them to pull off than they would be if they were all independent clubs. Columbus, Revs, Chivas, SLC and Portland – even if they could swing the salary, would not be where the league would want these players because their national / global exposure would be less. I am not complaining, just stating the facts. The league is creating favorite clubs even by being single entity …. and it is the ones with the most money and global exposure.

      • “Single-entity prevents wealthy franchises in big markets (NY, LA) from buying the championship every year.” Really? Would you care to tell us what club won the MLS cup in the last couple of years?

  17. I don’t live near any MLS teams, so I don’t have a favorite club–I just root for the league as a whole. From my perspective, I don’t have a problem with MLS kicking some money for the transfer fees for players of this caliber.

    1.) Dempsey was only ever going to come back if a club met his salary demands. Right there that probably limited the options to LA, Seattle, Toronto, and NY. It’s not like he was going to go to Columbus, but the league tilted the scales in favor of Seattle. If no MLS team ponied up the money, he would have gone to a European team that would have.

    2.) In the main article, the Seattle co-owner, Roth, shows that he is very aware of the lackluster TV ratings and the importance of improving those for the league. With the new TV contract coming up soon, MLS needs to provide some reasons why networks should expect ratings growth and why they should give MLS more money. One of the ways to do that is to show that they can, with increasing frequency, sign big name players and have them in big markets. Seattle has been a marquee team in MLS primarily because of their fan support. Now, they have a legit household name (at least household to anyone who casually follows the national team, but not MLS) playing for them. A playoff showdown between Dempsey and Donovan, possibly the two best American players ever, is a lot more appealing than Donovan and the LA Galaxy against that team that has a ton of fans. Getting a better TV deal obviously helps everyone in the league.

    As others have mentioned, MLS might be able to break off this sort of thing once the league is more established, but for right now, I don’t have a problem with it.

    • Yeah. Basically no expenditure is as important as one aimed to improving the TV ratings and thus the TV money. Big money or we lose the MLS.

  18. Am I missing something obvious? Doesn’t MLS own all the players contracts? So wouldn’t it make sense that they pay the transfer fee?

  19. Re the league pushing this deal;

    Its absurd! The league basically picking favorites..

    Hopefully we can say this was the last time as the league is no longer in its infacy. Someday…

    That said Seattle certainly has brought the league more a lot revenue than any other team, way more than $9m! LA, Seattle, NYRB, etc can certainly back up their special treatment but hopefully the league cleans it up real soon.

  20. Why just LA, Seattle or Toronto? Do people not know how awesome a city Chicago is? Only Magic Mike knows…

    And I think we’re still missing the key reasons why Dempsey wanted to move back to the States, other than the fact that living and working in the USA is better than England. I mean everyone knows that, and every July 4th that fact gets celebrated and reinforced.

    • The list is short as those were the teams who were interested in paying 6 mil a year for him… I have heard he wanted to play in Houston but they lol’d at the price.

  21. Apparently the league felt Deuce coming back to MLS would be a huge drawing card for new or casual fans.

    Regarding Omar as a DP in LA, it’s a bad long term move for his growth and development. He absolutely needs to be challenged at a higher level. He’ll stagnate in MLS, and stunt his ability to compete with the other CBs for the nats

  22. Its good to see the Euro-snobs have cooled a little with their comments. No matter how everything went down this is good for MLS and soccer in America. The guy is an icon and instantly gives the league more credibility.

    • I agree it is a good thing for MLS but not for smaller market teams. The league is actaully losing credibility with how its own rules are circumvented with this transfer. Parity is a thing of the past, the salary cap has become a joke, and the draft is almost meaningless.

      • There are things the league can’t do to blunt the issues, but it is impossible to eliminate the economic fact of being a small market team. Building depth and quality has to be done with a different approach…. a greater emphasis on development, an ultra cohesive team with complementary parts and scouting/scouring the world for talent at a greater value/price. The nature of soccer is that even more than in other sports,it can be done. Even in basketball, a more star driven league/sport, San Antonio Spurs have lead the way in this regard.

      • What rules were circumvented? I understand the allocation order confusion, but there is precedence for DPs. A potential DP contacted the league and said I’d be interested in playing for these teams. MLS contacts the teams and asks if interested…etc.

        Seems to be the way they operate for high profile players.

      • Seattle is only a “big market” team because of how well the city supports the club. It’s not an especially huge city. Just look at the Mariners – they wouldn’t be considered a “big market” MLB team.

      • I was just wondering about that comment. Seattle is “big market”, while Chicago and Houston are “small market”?

        But I must say, being from Seattle, it’s fun to be LA. Even if just for a day!

      • NY and LA are big markets – not Seattle. Seattle fits the category of a ‘small-market’ team, don’t they? In reality, Seattle’s success is helping Ms subsidize other teams in the league that not profitable.

    • Not sure how this gives the league more credibility.

      Yes he’s a known icon in US soccer circles, but I don’t see him pushing the needle for attendance like Henry and Beckham and Blanco.

      This is a Donovan-ess signing. Which means the fans will appreciate it, Sounders will probably play better, but the media isn’t going to care and attendance/viewership levels won’t increase.

      • Think the reality is, a player that has quality and high promotional value also has leverage…. it is the player that picks the team and if the team wants him, the league does best to oblige. Who pays and other things that are topsy-turvy aside…… this part is probably as it should be.

      • Exactly… how else does anybody expect to attract the top talent? Imagine if a top class player moving to England were greeted with “Congratulations on your decision to move to the Premier League. You’ll be excited to learn that you have been allocated to Norwich City. Sorry no refunds.”

  23. Wasn’t it MLS that paid Leverkusen for Donovans return to MLS? It was so long ago I forgot the ins the outs the whathaveyous of that deal. If that was the case I don’t see a real problem with this set up.

    • I think it was Nike…or some other outside interest/equipment supplies. I was just thinking the same thing, but I couldn’t find a reference anywhere. I think Nike was still an equipment supplier than.

      • Nobody. He called his mom and told her he didn’t like his new soccer camp, and she came and picked him up.

  24. Gonzalez a DP? Just go to europe, i say spain not england. Also, MLS should help all teams get DPs. The list of Dps gets longer then shorter since mls teams don’t wanna spend. Look at drogba, he is worth the money, kaka as well and now ancelloti will make him happy at madrid. markets who don’t want to spend money=
    Chivas usa
    Vancouver, they have but with odd dps
    Portland needs money and maybe should add, part owner like nycfc
    San jose get a top sponsor like apple or something or new owner
    Houston, needs new owner or just cry to AEG
    Fc dallas, get a roof or play cowboys stadium n ask jerry to be part owner
    Colorado, ask for arsenal money
    Dc, hopefully.stadium will spark new dps
    NE good luck
    Toronto, getting there
    Crew, jusr started a,new life with new owner
    Skc what u waiting for
    Chicago what u waiting for
    Montreal not afraid to waste but get younger Dps
    Philly, poor fans
    Red bull, nobody wil play for a unknown coach

    • “Colorado, ask for arsenal money”

      lol what? arsenal doesnt even spend their own money now they are going to lend it out?

    • Characterizing this as teams “not wanting” to spend money is ridiculous. Most teams in the league don’t have the capital to pay players $7 million a year. As an RSL fan, there’s no way a player paid that much will be on the books for years to come. It’s a small-market club with no billionaires throwing their money around in the FO. A few teams can afford to do this though, so they do. Blaming the teams for lack of willingness to spend is short sighted.

      • Brian, as an RSL supporter, you should know that spending more money does not equate to a better club. You guys are super competitive, have won an MLS cup (against Galaxy, no less), and have a great staff. Many of the small market MLS teams would be well served to follow that example. Throwing money at problems doesn’t always make for a better on-field product.

      • And Seattle’s money is only partially because they sell 30-40k seats a game (absolutley that helps). The fact that they have a consortium of multimillionaire and billionare owners for whom ponying up a few hundred thousand is not much different than the rest of us going out and blowing $100 on a nice dinner on a very rare occasion absolutely helps the cause.

        I also think RSL, Portland, Vancouver and absolutely NYRB and LAG have more money than they seem to. They just are not as free spending (and here in Portland, for good reason after the Kris Boyd debacle).

  25. I think it’s more than fair that the league is paying the transfer fee. I always felt that for such big name players, the team should only pay half of the salary with the league picking up the rest. Think about Beckham. Every team was getting a boost in attendance for his games + their share of TV money, + their share of the leagues’ 30% share of home game receipts. If the team was responsible for the whole expense, everyone else benefits and it’s a huge disincentive.

    • You nailed it. Everyone seems to be overlooking the fact MLS is a single-entity league. MLS owns Clint’s contract and every team in the league benefits from his presence. It’s a business. Garber knows how it works.

    • Games against any good team are more appealing and bring in more fans as well. Let’s make sure everyone is splitting the cost of Sabario because he makes RSL a better ticket for your MLS team, and the cost of Zusi, and the cost of Wondolowski, and the cost of Mauro Rosales.

      You wanna know what incentive overrides the “huge disincentive” of having other people benefit from a team’s cash outlay? Winning. Cuz winning generates revenue.

      • If that’s what a majority of owners wants to do, then that is what they will do. Garber is not a dictator. He cannot do something like this without permission of a majority of owners. Maybe that is why we are hardly hearing any complaints from other teams, even anonymously.

  26. MLS paid the transfer fee? This reeks. Horribly.

    It’s not a big step from that to fixing matches for the best outcome for the league. One of the big allures of MLS in American sports is the purity of the game. Officials have so little impact comparatively.

    The NBA is the WWE on hardwood. Please don’t let MLS go that route.

  27. Wonder if Donovan plans to re-sign with the Galaxy? If he doesn’t Galaxy will have two DP slots open so they could have signed Dempsey and Gonzalez.

  28. I am a Seattle fan through and through but MLS paying the fee is simply ridiculous. If a team wants a big name player they need to finance the purchase themselves. There is no reason for the league to step in and pay it for them. I am happy to see that MLS wants to bring in big players in their prime but Seattle needs to pay the fee if they want him. This sets a bad precedent for the league, what is to stop other teams from telling MLS they need to pay the fee since they did it for Seattle? I haven’t read the article yet but it sounds concerning.

    • That’s a myopic viewpoint. I think you’d have to consider the goals of the league and how Don Garger can influence those goals to improve the game in the US. I really wonder what Don Garber has to say about it and how he saw the transfer affecting the league as a whole.

    • The only way this is concenring is if the league refuses to pay the transfer fee for someone else’s big name DP when the team is ready to pay the salary. If the league wants to be the responsible entity (and it is a single entity after all) for transfer fees, there is nothing problematic about that on its face.

    • “what is to stop other teams from telling MLS they need to pay the fee since they did it for Seattle?”

      I don’t think MLS stops any team from saying that, they will just respond “I appreciate that viewpoint. Now pay the transfer fee for your player.”

      It’s clear a rule is only a rule until MLS decides the rule is now different.

  29. Does anyone know who generally pays transfer fees for incoming players? I understand why MLS would offer to subsidize this move, and I’m guessing there’s no actual rule and that the teams and Todd Durbin’s office figure it out on a case by case basis, but this kind of practice needs to be eliminated within the next 5-7 years.

    • Well until about a year ago there was the stance that MLS (and by extension) its teams dont pay transfer fees. Then they would acknowledge that teams do pay them, and count them against the cap. Now in this case, the league is actually paying the fee. Seems like making up the rules as you go to me. I like that he is here, but the process is shady….basically it says if the team is willing to pay really high wages to a player, MLS may help with the fee if they like said player?

      • One example…When RSL brought in Saborio they had to amortize his transfer fee over the length of his contract, which made him a designated player when if the league had paid his fee like with deuce, they wouldn’t have had to use a DP slot on him. It’s a raw deal to make money available to some teams while leaving others to fend for themselves.

      • Diego Chara in Portland same deal. His actual salary is less than DP money, but MLS added the transfer fee in installments over the life of the contract which pushed it above DP money.

        I think that MLS ponys up the actual fee up front, but the club pays them back over the life of the contract. I think that has always been the deal. If it hasn’t been, then basically the MLS front office has necessarily been controling every single DP signing (because they could easily refuse to pay for team X’s requested player because the fee is too high but agree to do it for team Y for the same player).

        If Seattle isn’t on the hook for the transfer fee just like every other club has been for DPs then the DP rule has major fairness flaws. Given all of the misinformation over this deal, I suspect that the SI guys took “MLS fronted the fee” for “MLS paid the fee”.

        The only thing that really bugs me about the entire deal is actually that Seattle was able to open up a DP slot mid season by renegotiating Joseph’s contract. My understanding of the DP rule was that once salary cap compliance day came around, you had to designate your DPs and they were your DPs for the season. If you had less than 3 of them, you could sign more. This is where MLS let Seattle do something different than any other team … are we now going to see a rash of restructured contracts mid season so players are no longer DPs (particularly the borderline ones, just over the DP salary) and teams requesting MLS to pony up $8 million for their Dempsy equivalent to keep pace? If so, the kid gloves are off and the arms race is on …. prepare for ticket prices to triple next year.

      • The idea that MLS fronted the money and expects it back seems the most likely thing. Nobody really knows how the rules work for these things. Something gets posted by a confused journalist (as most tend to be because MLS doesn’t publish their rules) which everyone runs with. MLS denies that they paid the fee because they only fronted it.

      • This seems to be it. I’m sure there are plenty of teams in the league that would have loved for Dempsey to be on their team-as long as they don’t have to pay his salary. If Dempsey wanted to go to say, Columbus, and the Crew were willing to pay his salary, MLS would likely do the same thing they did for Seattle.

      • +2. The other owners would never go for this unless the generosity were duplicated. I also bet Seattle kicked in some of the transfer fee.

      • Fair points, y’all.

        Like I said, I find it difficult to get too worked up about this particular deal. But at some point as the league transitions away from needing to be carefully managed, this kind of stuff has to stop, or at least have clear rules.

  30. Not that I’m opposed to the league doing something like this, but somebody on twitter made the point that the league both a) subsidizing the biggest transfers for players with wages only the biggest clubs can afford and b) only allowing these DP caliber players to avoid the allocation order ma$$ively tilts the scales towards the bigger teams. For Columbus to get Michael Parkhurst they have to give up a$$ets to get to the top of the allocation order and pay his transfer fee, for Seattle to get Dempsey they have to do neither.

    • Parkuhurst is not even remotely a DP level player but because he played for the USMNT he does carry some cache’… I like the allocation process… I also like that teams that are serious about becoming winners can pay a DP and land them.

    • What happened here is consistent with the strategy MLS has been implementing (very successfully) over the past 5-10 years.

      As long as MLS is in a growth mode, it’s about making the pie as big as possible, not haggling over who got the biggest slice. The Dempsey transfer makes the league better and is a massive coup for the MLS brand. Worth it at most any price.

  31. Ah yes, the details in which the rules are made up as you go. It might be good for the league but it goes to show that MLS is as corrupt as any other league. Way to keep pace!

    • I understand what you’re trying to say, but I wouldn’t really call this corruption. I doubt Garber is getting a kickback on the deal.

      • Of course Don Garber is getting a kickback–it’s called job security and most certainly performance bonuses for milestones the league reaches.

      • Eh, I think that’s a stretch. Garber’s job probably couldn’t be more secure. And since the league is designed to have rules made up as they go along, it’s not exactly like stuff like this is under the table.

    • There is a difference between being unfair and being corrupt. Grant Wahl’s story actually show that MLS is willing to allow a high degree of transparency with regard to its business dealings. Can you imagine a story like this being written about the FIFA World Cup site selection process?

  32. Not that I’m opposed to the league doing something like this, but somebody on twitter made the point that the league both a) subsidizing the biggest transfers for players with wages only the biggest clubs can afford and b) only allowing these DP caliber players to avoid the allocation order massively tilts the scales towards the bigger teams. For Columbus to get Michael Parkhurst they have to give up assets to get to the top of the allocation order and pay his transfer fee, for Seattle to get Dempsey they have to do neither.

    • Why not? Seems cheap compared to some other DPs considering he’s still in his prime.Teams are going to have to spend some day in order true quality world class players who are not past their prime

      • If the Dynamo FO and staff were given free reign with $6.86m every year (and league paid transfer fees), I can guarantee you they would use it more effectively than signing a single player in his waning prime.

  33. i don’t like the omar DP move at all (for omar, great for galaxy). he’s so young – he has plenty of time to go to europe, test himself and hone his craft against the best offensive players in the world, and then come back in his prime to support MLS. For a player of his caliber and athletic ability to never even try against the best is so not inspiring.

      • So he shouldn’t try again? If he’s going to get those mental errors out of his system, he may need to go someplace where he’s less likely to get away with them.

      • I also think Omar should go overseas but only if a team sets him up very nicely. After a blown knee he needs to make sure he earns enough money in the time he has left as a player. Priority number one.

        My guess is, he wants to stay to ensure playing time ahead of the WC and he does well enough a transfer fee and big contract overseas will come.

    • I like in theory. Keep the good young players in the league as the league attracts better quality players.

      Isn’t this how you would build a league to compete against the best leagues in the world?

      • The only way we’re competing with the best is to continue churning out the best young players in a constant factory like Portugal and Holland. And we’re only going to do that through academies and doing a better job of scouring the Central American and Islands countries.

      • And as that happens we then keep them here. And to keep them here we need examples like LD and Deuce and OG to show them that the league is viable for them – all while attracting better and better foreign players.

        And this will in turn attract better and better coaches and execs and so on and so on.

    • It could also be a move to increase his value ahead of the World Cup next summer. If he performs well there (at this point it looks like Gonzo and Besler will be the starting CBs), some European teams could come calling. LAG might get more cash for him if they’re already paying him a higher salary.

      • I am here w/ the thinking behind it . . . at first glance, it seems like he is signing on just as he is maturing, but big picture it keeps him settled while he is very much fighting for a spot and minutes going into the world cup – if he leaves now/winter and ends up on a bench, it will really hurt him in the lead up.

        He stays settled and continues his progress at a good clip, shows well when we make the semi’s at the world cup, and is starting in the bundesliga in a few years.

      • Quite the gamble considering his place in the starting 11 is being pressured by others in the pool.

    • As a Galaxy fan, I like the Omar DP move, but if Dempsey was really an option for LA there would have been no hesitation to sign Clint and kick the can down the road on Omar. Everyone knows LA’s execs want star power and headlines. Omar is very valuable to the team, but he lacks Dempsey’s star power. I don’t think LA ever had a chance.

  34. Dempsey to Fulham/Everton on loan. Mark it down.

    He’s coming back to MLS in a much better way then Reyna/McBride. He can be a huge star, and still go on loan to Europe after already proving himself there. He’ll still be fine for the next World Cup.

  35. Timber fans are already moaning on Twitter about how the league cheated everyone else by paying transfer fee. I think this is awesome for the league.

    • “The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee. The allocation rankings may also be used in the event two or more clubs file a request for the same player on the same day when the discovery period opens in December. The allocations will be ranked in reverse order of finish for the 2012 season, taking playoff performance into account. Once the club uses its allocation ranking to acquire a player, it drops to the bottom of the list. A ranking can be traded, provided that part of the compensation received in return is the other club’s ranking. At all times, each club is assigned one ranking. The rankings reset at the end of each MLS League season.”

      Clint is both a returning MLS and USMNT player therefore should go through the Allocation list. He didn’t. Timbers fans have a legitimate gripe.

    • Um, the league DID cheat everyone else.

      The league just paid for a player that the other teams have to compete against. It’s unbelievably crooked.

      • The story says someone from MLS disputed this, so I’d assume it’s more complicated than that. My pitchfork will remain in the shed until some more details surface.

      • The story says someone from MLS disputed this, so I’d @ssume it’s more complicated than that. My pitchfork will remain in the shed until some more details surface.

      • It was a business decision. Get over it. MLS is in business to make money. Just like any other business. Pretty sure they will get their money back.

      • The business decision was to forego the integrity of their own league?

        That’s like responding to the reality that the NBA fixed matches to ratings with “it’s a business decision.”

        So we can expect matches rigged for better TV ratings now too? After all, that’s a business decision.

      • +1 – and this is functionally what’s happening. It’s good for MLS TV ratings to have the Sounders succeed, so they buy them a great player. That’s basically fixing matches.

      • Dempsey made a point to target Seattle as one of the teams he wanted to play for. No different than Keane – Juninho – Henry – Beckham.

        All teams will benefit.

      • Exactly!!!!

        Plus, the Sounders are the team paying his record breaking contract. AH just said at the news conference that the league regularly pays the transfer fee. There have been officials from teams all over the league saying today that Garber and the league will 100% support any team’s purchase of DPs. This practice is not uncommon. This a big deal for the entire league.

        Oh, Deuce asked to go to Seattle, too. People are forgetting that part.

      • You conspiracy theory bozos are pathetic! I, for one, am glad Deuce is back in our domestic league vice riding the pine at Tottenham.

      • The sound era are paying the player, not the league. As for the transfer fee, who knows, but the other teams would have had to agree or expect the same treatment in the future if a similar situation arises for them. That’s how single entity works.

      • This. Why watch a sport when the league is going to fix bigger teams with better players? I’m a DC fan. I want a multi-million dollar transfer sack of gold to offer a player we need.

        Pony up Garber the Don.

      • Mr. D.

        I don’t think it is just the league.

        Based on the article the reality I see is Seattle has a better, more inventive, more ambitious, more courageous ownership group than DC United has. And believe me, as a fan of the Arena and El Diablo days I wish it were otherwise

        If those guys owned DC United maybe Clint is in DC today.Instead you get Doyle for a returning American.

        All sports leagues have this issue. Right now DC looks like the Florida Marlins or the Jacksonville Jaguars..

      • Paul Allen is worth 15 Billion, he can be as ambitious and creative as he wants when he can buy anything he wants (but MLS ponies up any/all of the transfer fee?). He can trigger Messi’s release clause from Barca if he wanted to.

        While I understand the player has some say, and Dempsey had a lot of say, the MLS still sets a dangerous precedent with this move. First they make contradictions on their allocation system. The contradiction comes from a DP not being allocated because Adu was allocated and his salary was a DP contract. Second is MLS paying any or all of the transfer fee. Do the other 18 teams get an 8 mil blank check to bring in talent?

        Also a minor gripe is that the 3 Canadian teams are in the US Allocation pool but the 16 US teams are not included for Canadian allocations.

        Unfortunately MLS has fluid rules that get interpreted to fit the solution at hand.

      • The NFL is so awash in money that they can afford concepts like parity, salary caps and competition committees. Every other sports league in the world is not so lucky. If this is what MLS feels it has to do to continue stoking viewership and growing the brand, so be it.

    • The best part is that he bypassed the allocation process because he is a DP. They are falling off their fixed gear bicycles they are so mad in Portland.

      • Exactly. And this all comes from one simple fact: Garber and MLS recognizes it cannot compete with other leagues with a salary cap and by centralizing money. So in order to push these deals through, instead of using the simple economics of a business, they have to insert themselves and throw their own money at it.

        This is a prime example of why a centralized MLS league is slowly falling apart. Much like the USSR began showing tears by privatizing certain utilities and economic units, trying to balance it all by shouting “it’s fair, we’re still communist!”, MLS is becoming a hybrid mockery.

      • “Much like the USSR began showing tears by privatizing certain utilities and economic units,”

        Just like the collapse of Wisconsin. QED.

      • How is the league falling apart? Other than DC being a pathetic laughing stock as usual and playing in a decaying rat’s nest, I think things look pretty good. Oh and the Chivas thing. But still, overall can’t say it’s falling apart.

      • Careful, Josh, Slowleftarm will report you to MLS politburo. On a serious note, your analogy with non-market economy countries is very good. MLS is a highly regulated and closed system (e.g., salary cap, limited free agency, no transfer fees between MLS clubs, no promotion relegation, everybody is equal, but some (LA, NY, Seattle) are more equal than others, etc). However, there is some dissent in the ranks and MLS starts to realize that it cannot compete with a more efficient free market system and tries to incorporate some elements of a market system while not changing its core structure. Garber, like Gorbachov, is trying to do a fine balancing act. He looked upset when Keller recently asked him if MLS has any plans to replace the underperforming teams that are dragging the league down with better teams (i.e., promotion/relegation). What I find interesting in the article that it was not Seattle that approached the MLS to beg MLS to negotiate for the player they wanted, but it was the other way round. I suspect that the TV contracts are up for renewal in the next year or two, and with Beckham’s departure, MLS is trying to improve its TV ratings (and, thus, negotiating position) by bringing a couple big name players.

      • Thanks for that thoughtful reply. I didn’t even think about the TV contract,

        There are smaller cracks showing: players unhappy about their rights, players upset that there’s no free agent market, owners upset about sharing profits, owners seemingly kept out of the loop with this transfer, fan distrust with MLS FO, media starting to ask hard questions, more challenges from open market leagues (NASL and Cosmos),etc.

        They are small, but they are there. I’m not a conspiracy theorist though and firmly believe the league is fine. But we’ll see big changes in the next couple years.

      • Josh, what don’t you understand about MLS being a single entity? Deuce, and every other player, signs with MLS, hence they pay the transfer fee. What’s wrong with Seattle reaping the benefit of paying a huge salary to a returning USMNT star? They’re lucky enough to have a boatload of money thanks to their consistent 40K attendance over the last 4+ years. No other team can claim that.

      • You have no idea what you’re talking about, yet you go around insulting people.

        Teams pay the fees for their players, which then sign with the league. DPs sign with the teams themselves.

      • Not to nitpick, but MLS is a private company. it’s not part of the USSA. yes, our country is making the same mistakes the soviets did and our future looks blithe, but MLS looks golden right now.

    • Not a Timbers fan here.

      Unless the league makes this the MO for every DP from now on, it’s absolutely cheating the league, no matter what the owners have voted.

      The players and non-Sounders fans will have been cheated, and the league is nothing without players or fans.

      • If I understand it correctly (which I doubt I did since it seems that no one else has), it would only apply for US National DP’s. I think. The real issue is that MLS’ standard for how these kinds of things work should be available to the public, or at the very least to journalists who can explain these things to us.

    • It could even be something like the league now owns x% of his marketing rights, to be distributed among all the teams. I would be shocked if it was just a matter of handing cash to Seattle.

    • The thing that shocks me is that no top Euro team had the intelligence to make a similar offer. 9Mil for a guy who scores goals by the bushel and is as versatile as Deuce? That seems a huge bargain considering the money these id10ts are tossing around. Guys like Deuce, that develop later and have less miles on their bodies are still at the height of their powers, yet these managers and football directors are too unimaginative to see anything except his age. Their loss. I wish all the misery of failure on the ungrateful Spurs fans. At least Deuce will finally get some love on Seattle.

      • I’m a little surprised Spurs were able to get $9mm for him… That’s actually pretty high for a player 30+, and only slightly less than what they paid for him. He had a decent enough season but I think they’ll be pleased to get such good back-end value.

        If Deuce has a good WC 2014 and 3-4 productive MLS seasons, people will look back on this as a good deal for all parties.

      • Agreed. MLS wasted many millions on the transfer fee. Tottenham had already decided that Clint was surplus to requirements and wanted to offload him (according to various news reports the past 6-8 weeks, and I am am certain Tottenham (Levy) would have let Clint go for a fraction of that transfer fee. That said, MLS probably wanted to get the deal done as quickly as possible so simply paid the Tottenham’s asking price without haggling.

      • I think this is probably exactly what happened. I bet MLS wanted to get it done without any noise. If MLS tried to negotiate then I’m sure other midlevel EPL teams would hear about it and jump in with offers. MLS probably just paid the cash to avoid all the wrangling and attention to ensure that they get their player.

      • No European club was going to offer Spurs $9M for Dempsey. This is a prime example of a team/league over valuing a player because he offers that team or league an “X Factor.” In this case, Dempsey is worth more to MLS than a European team.

        He scores goals, but to most people, he was a disappointment last season. He disappears, like he does for country, often, and yes he scores goals, but unless he’s helping the team for the 89 other minutes, teams undervalue those goal contributions.

        Dempsey was so good at Fulham because he was the focal point. He wouldn’t get that at many teams – at 30. You just can’t build a team around someone so old.

        This move was a perfect storm when combined with Dempsey’s failure to get onto a CL team.

        You could call it greed – it’s a big paycheck for him. You could say he’s mentally weak like Donovan – he missed out on the CL so he’s giving up and returning home. You could say that he sold out. Etc.

        I’m disappointed in him. But it is what it is and all we can hope as USMNT fans is that he maintains his hunger and drive. Because we all know when he loses that rhythm, he doesn’t turn up for the Nats. And next year we’ll need him.

      • The crazy myth that Deuce had a down season has been long disproved. 12 goals is a prodigious feat from a guy who missed training camp and the first month of the season, got off to a slow start for that reason, missed another few weeks with injury, mostly played midfield and sometimes came off the bench.

        I feel the whole disappears statement is a lazy cliche for those who have nothing analytical to offer. The guy doesn’t score goals by standing still and hoping the ball bounces to him. Clint busts his butt all over the field, constantly making clever runs, backtracking, and winning possession. He has won several jobs with different managers in the BPL as a midfielder in training. You don’t win BPL midfield jobs without a stellar work rate and all around game.

      • All he does is score goals. As a attacking midfielder, he’s lacking as a creator. He isn’t comfortable being the focal point of the attack. On top of that, he doesn’t fit into AvB’s 433.

      • Another lazy comment. Clint typically logs the most kilometers when playing in the midfield. And you must not have watched many games, Clint’s passing is excellent. Check out the West Ham match at White Hart Lane as a good example of Clint’s typical play (in those matches where he doesn’t score).

      • Sometimes I wonder how many times Dempsey’s critics have seen him play. I don’t want to list everything I know, but much of their criticisms are totally unrelated to reality.

      • Also, $9M is not a good price for a proven BPL goal scorer in his prime. Wayne Rooney has more miles on his body than Deuce yet he’s receiving $46M bids. It’s ridiculous.

      • Ridiculous? I doubt that.

        Rooney is a couple of years younger, far more proven and most important, is rated much more highly than Deuce outside of the USMNT fan base.

        Rooney has averaged a goal every two games in his career while Clint averaged a goal every 3.75 games while over in England . That is not really close.

        Now if I’m Chelsea, I’d rather buy Dempsey because I think he might fit in better and be a better,more useful investment and a lot less of a headache but that is me.

        And you just try selling that to the Chelsea fan base.

      • Rooney is an absurd comp for all the reasons listed above. 30 vs. 27 is a massive difference in soccer contracts. Arteta would be a more suitable comp for your argument, who was 29 at the time of transfer. Arsenal bought him under desperate circumstances for about 10 million pounds in 2011. A small premium perhaps compared to Deuce, but Arteta had a stronger long-term pedigree in Europe.

      • There is no doubt that Rooney is a better player. However, their positions on the field and their team circumstances have been so completely different (and I hope I don’t have to spell that out for you, I assume you have some knowledge), that to compare their goal scoring rates is ridiculous and meaningless.

      • There is no doubt that Rooney is a better player. However, their positions on the field and their team circumstances have been so completely different (and I hope I don’t have to spell that out for you, I a$$ume you have some knowledge), that to compare their goal scoring rates is ridiculous and meaningless.

      • Rooney can play midfield as well. Actually Rooney can play anywhere and often has.

        Rooney is not only a better player he is a better goal scorer.

        But for the money, I’d rather have Deuce. At least I know what I would be getting with him, which is about 12 goals a year and 40- some odd appearances.

      • Last three years, Clint is tied at sixth in open play goals at 35 and the last six years, only 5 other players have scored at least 6 each year, Van Persie, Rooney, Berbatov, Lampard, and Torres.

      • Not disappointed at all in CL – he did what was best for his career and family in his own mind. Players don’t exist for the national team or anything else. Ultimately they are pros who need to make a living in a short career span.

        Nor is Demps mentally weak. Silly. He has proven himself already many times over.

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