Fulham have signed United States captain Clint Dempsey on a two-month loan, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday night.
Dempsey, 30, is currently with Seattle Sounders FC and he will spend part of the Major League Soccer off-season at Craven Cottage in what will be his second spell at the club. The midfielder spent five and a half seasons at the west London club before leaving for Tottenham on deadline day in August 2012.
A statement on the Fulham website read: "Fulham Football Club is delighted to announce the two-month loan signing of Clint Dempsey from MLS side Seattle Sounders FC. The 30-year-old midfielder returns to Craven Cottage having first signed a permanent deal for the Club in January 2007 from New England Revolution.
"During five-and-a-half seasons at Fulham, Dempsey scored 60 goals in 225 appearances. Arguably the most memorable of his strikes was the fourth goal in a 4-1 victory against Juventus in the UEFA Europa League which completed a dramatic comeback over two legs en route to the inaugural 2010 Final.
"Dempsey also scored the only goal of the match against Liverpool at Craven Cottage in May 2007 which secured Premier League football for the Whites the following season.
"He was voted Fulham’s 2011/12 Player of the Season by the fans for a second consecutive term before signing for Tottenham Hotspur in August 2012."
Of his reasons for returning, Dempsey added: "A lot of different things. I just wanted to be back playing at the highest level, get back to top form and get back to helping the team where they are not where they want to be in the table. Going into World Cup year you want to get to that top form and carry that forward, so hopefully have a good showing."
Dempsey will not be eligible to play for Fulham until January 1, when the Cottagers host West Ham in a London derby. With eight days before the game, he told the club’s website that he is focused on being ready if required:
“The idea right now is just to keep working on fitness. My family will leave on the 26th, on Boxing Day, to go back to the States and then I’ll be over here and I’ll be with the team, just continue working hard trying to make sure that when I am able to play, I’ll be playing at the highest level possible.”
Dempsey, who moved to Tottenham in somewhat acrimonious circumstances, also had a message for the Fulham fans:
“Anybody with a family, they go through tough times as far as growing up. They’re at home, then they go and see the rest of the world and they come back and you appreciate home a lot more so I think sometimes you have to go to appreciate things a little bit more. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
“I’m happy to be here and I’m sorry if I upset anybody but I had a great time here, some of my best years in my football have been playing for this club and that’s why I was excited about coming back here because this is where has always felt like home to me and I hope [to] help out in this situation to help this club be in the Premier League.”