Clint Dempsey "likely" will go on loan to a European club in January, Seattle Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said Tuesday.
Rumors concerning Dempsey's winter plans have been circulating for some time, with the latest destination reportedly Fulham, the English Premier League club where he flourished from 2007 to 2012. The Guardian, among others, claimed Dempsey will be headed back to London after New Year's. Everton has been mentioned as another potential destination.
"Clint did have something have in his [MLS] contract that would allow him to go on loan for the first couple of months here, and obviously the rumors are pretty rampant," Hanauer told SI.com during Tuesday's conference call. "I think it's likely, but until it's done we won't report it as done. I do think it's likely."
Dempsey could choose to go on loan or to spend January with Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. national team, which will train in Brazil and Southern California before meeting South Korea in a friendly on Feb. 1.
Speaking to reporters in Kansas City prior to the Dec. 7 MLS Cup final, Dempsey admitted that he was "pushing myself too hard" during the fall as he tried to acclimate to the Sounders while dealing with several injuries. He tallied one goal and one assist in 12 MLS games.
“I think that’s kind of been happening because I got a late start coming into the league [in August], not having a preseason, trying to play catch-up with everybody else and getting used to all the travel, getting used to playing on [artificial] turf," Dempsey said. "I think just kind of took a toll on me, kind of wore me out. I kind of felt I was always playing catch-up, and just couldn’t get a good run of games."
After a bit of rest, he'd get that run of games in England. Seattle's MLS campaign doesn't kick off until March 8.
"For sure, Clint had a few niggling injuries that I know were really frustrating for him," Hanauer said. "I know he didn't have a lot of production, but I actually thought he was really starting to integrate there and was playing really good soccer. He probably could've had three or four or five assists ... They didn't go in but he certainly put himself in position to have [several] goals." Dempsey would be eligible to join a European team once the transfer window opens in January.