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Fulham sign USA International

last updated Wednesday 10th January 2007, 3:31 PM
Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey

United States midfielder Clint Dempsey will join Premier League side Fulham after receiving his British work permit on Wednesday.

The British Government's Home Office confirmed that he received his work permit and will become the third American to join the west London club.

The agreement could be worth as much as US$4 million (€3 million), which would make Dempsey the 13th American currently in England's top league and the costliest.

The previous record fee of US$3 million (€2.26 million), including incentives, was when Major League Soccer sold goalkeeper Tim Howard's rights to Manchester United.

The highest fee paid to the MLS was the US$3.5 million (€2.64 million) from Nottingham Forest for Trinidad & Tobago forward Stern John in 1999.

Fulham was also in talks with U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu, who is reportedly close to making a 1 million pound (€1.48 million; US$1.96 million) move from Belgian side Standard Liege.

The MLS' New England Revolution agreed to Dempsey's transfer on Jan. 2 pending the approval of a British work permit.

The Home Office panel approved the permit despite Dempsey having played in less than 75 percent of his national team's recent games. The 23-year-old played in nine of the United States' 13 matches last year, taking his tally to 23 games.

Dempsey scored the only goal by an American at last year's World Cup and was voted U.S. player of the year.

Fulham boss Chris Coleman said "He has all the attributes to be a good player in the Premiership".

"It's not like he's coming here to sit on the bench. He's coming because we've bought him to make a big impact."

Coleman feared that may leave the deal, which was agreed late in 2006, dead in the water.

But he is delighted to have got a permit for Dempsey, who looks set to join fellow USA internationals Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride at Craven Cottage.

"I saw him about two years ago and then saw him playing at the World Cup for the US," added Coleman.

"Then I went out to watch him playing a few times in the States for New England and have always liked him."

New England head coach Steve Nicol, the former Liverpool defender, said: "We're pleased this opportunity worked out for Clint. We wish him nothing but the best as he heads to the Premiership.

"He has been a tremendous player for us. Clint developed his game a great deal during his time with the Revolution.

"It's a great credit to him and the level of play in MLS that Fulham pushed so hard to get him."

Source Herald Tribune
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