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American international should be catching the eye of sides at the top of the Premier League after a record-breaking season at Craven Cottage with 15 top-flight goals

ANALYSIS
By Simon Sinclair

Clint Dempsey became Fulham's most prolific goalscorer in a single Premier League season on Saturday when he notched an impressive double against Bolton, taking him to 15 league goals for the campaign.

The American international showed his all-round ability when he powered a free-kick from 25 yards into the top corner to overhaul the record set by Louis Saha in 2004.

Minutes later his prowess in front of goal was again on display when he used his predatory instincts to find space in the area to head Damien Duff’s cross past Adam Bogdan and double his tally for the afternoon.

The 29-year-old is now the fifth-highest scorer in the Premier League this campaign behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Demba Ba.

He now has Chelsea in his sights on Monday as he looks to fire the Cottagers up the table.

How will Roberto Di Matteo and the Blues look to stop one of the most in-form players in the division? With great difficulty is the answer.

DOMINANT DEMPSEY

 DEMPSEY'S 2011-12 GOALSCORING STATS
TOTAL GAMES PLAYED
TOTAL GOALS SCORED
AV. GOALS PER GAME
PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES
PREMIER LEAGUE GOALS
40
21
0.53
32
15
Looking at Dempsey’s game there is not one specific area you can focus on as he is a complete player across the board. He can deliver and score from set-pieces, he can shoot from distance.

His 6ft 1in frame enables him to be a handful in the air. He has intelligence in and around the box which makes him a nightmare for defenders as he is constantly on the move.

His distribution and link-up play with the main striker is phenomenal - it is not often Pavel Pogrebnyak and Andy Johnson have found themselves isolated up front this season. Dempsey is the key man that makes Fulham tick.

With such an impressive campaign under his belt, could he attract the attention of clubs in the top four?

Former Fulham manager Chris Coleman said: "Fulham are a mid-table team and it has been that way for almost the past 10 years.

"There are probably four teams that are bigger than Fulham that are outside of that top four or five that would be a good fit."

The American international’s versatility and consistency would make him a valuable asset for any club chasing the Premier League title, without costing the big bucks of more headline-grabbing players.

But where would be the best destination for the 29-year-old?

Dempsey’s goal threat and support play make him perfectly suited to a team that plays with a single striker. Thereby he could play off the main man offering a goal threat whilst complementing but not overshadowing the forward.

Being less high profile and having a good temperament would mean he would not demand or command a place in the starting XI week in, week out.  His versatility and discipline would also allow him to take over roles if need be.

Arsenal have been linked with the 29-year-old in the past. This year the Gunners have been over reliant on Van Persie as he has scored 26 of their 63 league goals.

Not only would Dempsey provide a good foil for the Dutchman with his link-up play but he would also chip in with goals and could fill in up front if the captain was on the sidelines.

Another team that could be interested would be the Gunners' north London rivals Tottenham. Who also like to play with a lone front-man.

If Spurs can secure the permanent signing of Emmanuel Adebayor, he and the American international could forge a partnership similar to the one at Fulham between Dempsey and Pogrebnyak.

The talent already available to Harry Redknapp could scupper a move. The former Portsmouth boss prefers playing a defensive midfielder with Luka Modric while Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon occupy the wings and Rafael van der Vaart lurks in Dempsey's position.

AMERICAN IDOL
15/8
Clint Dempsey is 15/8 to score anytime when Fulham take on Chelsea with bet365

Alternatively Chelsea could be an option but they are likely to spend big on a star name, despite Dempsey’s obvious quality. With the potential return of Yossi Benayoun from Arsenal, the American would be seen as a unnecessary luxury - not like that has stopped the Blues in the past.

Liverpool could also be in the market but with their struggles in the Premier League this year and their close proximity to Fulham in the table, the 29-year-old may opt for a side currently in the Champions League places were he to leave the Cottagers.

Dempsey’s undoubted quality should present him with offers from around the top flight after his sensational season at Craven Cottage.

The summer will tell us whether any team takes the chance on a proven Premier League player. If not, Fulham will have one of most the under-rated players in the league for another season.  

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