SEATTLE – It doesn't look like Clint Dempsey will be moving away from Seattle any time soon.
FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio reported on Monday that the Seattle Sounders are in talks regarding a deal that would bring the 34-year-old forward back for the 2018 season and that “both parties are confident” that deal will be completed. The Sounders declined comment when contacted by MLSsoccer.com on Monday.
The Sounders have a club option on Dempsey's contract for 2018 and whether or not they will choose to exercise it has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks.
FOX Sports analyst and former MLS player Stu Holden first revealed that Seattle were in talks with Dempsey during the broadcast of last Thursday’s Western Conference Semifinal second leg match between the Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps, stating that the club had a “warm, fuzzy feeling” about bringing the longtime US national team stalwart back for a sixth year.
“They’ve been in negotiations and we were told yesterday by Seattle that they have a warm, fuzzy feeling about him coming back next year,” Holden said. “Which makes it seem – and we know they’ve been in advanced discussions – that Clint Dempsey will be back [in Seattle] next season. At what number [salary], we do not know, but that is good news and he’s certainly proving his worth yet again to this franchise."
Tenorio’s report comes just days after Dempsey scored a brace in that second leg against the Whitecaps, sending the Sounders through to the Western Conference Championship where they will take on the Houston Dynamo as they seek to defend their MLS Cup title.
Dempsey's playoff heroics come on the heels of a bounce-back campaign for "Deuce" that saw him return to the field after missing the entire second half of the 2016 season due to an irregular heartbeat. It wasn’t a given that he would pick up his old form following a six-month layoff, but Dempsey has shown there’s plenty of gas left in his tank this season, putting up a customarily productive line with a team-leading 12 goals to go along with five assists in 29 appearances.
If he does return with the Rave Green next season, Dempsey will have a couple of notable historical milestones in his sights. He currently stands just one goal shy of Fredy Montero’s all-time Sounders regular season club record of 47 goals and is also just one away from a record-breaking 58th goal for the US national team – a tally that would break a tie with Landon Donovan for the all-time goals lead.