Rene Meulensteen spoke exclusively to Goal.com about the Fulham star and the potential of Manchester United's Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez.Add Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen to the growing list of people who think Clint Dempsey deserves a move to a big club.
The American attacker, who has one year left on his Fulham contract after coming off a career season, continues to stir speculation as he eyes a move to a Champions League team.
"The one who put his mark on the Premier League with an outstanding season is Clint Dempsey. It would be a surprise to me if he's still at Fulham next season because he's done really well," Meulensteen told Goal.com.
Dempsey set a new benchmark for American players in the Premier League in his sixth year at Fulham. He became the first player from the United States to scored 50 career goals in the league and his season tally of 17 was good for joint-fourth in the league.
Meulensteen says Dempsey is "obviously" the best American player.
"There's definitely a few talented Americans but Clint Dempsey is obviously nasty," the Red Devils coach gushed.
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Continuing to talk about the growth of American soccer, Meulensteen revealed that Manchester United extensively scouts Major League Soccer as the team believes the competition level of the league is very respectable.
The Red Devils discovered U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard while playing for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. Howard, who now plays for Everton, has gone on to become one of the elite keepers in the Premier League.
"Man United is always scouting MLS because the competition is very strong," Meulensteen said. "The key is to identify the young players who are still developing who would be good fits for Man United."
One thing that might be surprising for fans of the league is that Meulensteen knows very little about FC Dallas winger Brek Shea. Shea is considered by many to be a strong part of America's future in the sport but the coach said that he hadn't heard of the 22-year-old before quickly changing subjects.
"No, unfortunately not," Meulensteen said when asked if he had watched Shea play. "I can't make any further comment [about U.S. prospects]."
One North American player with whom United has struck gold is with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.
Since his arrival from Chivas Guadalajara in 2010, Chicharito has scored 23 goals in 55 league appearances for the Old Trafford-based club. When asked whether or not United was lucky in finding the Mexico international, Meulensteen confidently boasted that it was a result of proper research and scouting.
He also believes Chicharito still has plenty of potential.
"I don't know if you can call it luck as much as you can say we did our homework," said Meulensteen. "He fit what we were looking for. We don't always look for the finished article. We look for players that show great potential."
He added, "There are still a lot of things [to improve]. He's a great finisher. But there is still things he can do when going left to right and his movement coming in from deeper areas."
Meulensteen spoke with Goal.com on behalf of Super Soccer Stars. He will be in New York City during June 21-24, coaching young kids in the area.