When Clint Dempsey was sold to the Seattle Sounders in the summer it came as a huge shock, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Here was a player who the same time the year before had the choice of Liverpool or Spurs - and had demanded Champions League football.
He had earned it. His career with Fulham was superb - making a position all of his own just behind the front-man, and leading the unfashionable Cottagers to the Europa League final.
But his time at Spurs was a mixed bag - and fearing a place on the bench, if that, and Spurs wanting to trim the wage bill for big name new inclusions - Dempsey was expendable.
So in come the Sounders, who pay an exorbitant amount of money (for a MLS side) to bring him back to the United States.
The $9 million they paid for him, along with his hefty annual takings of around $5 million, is huge in the MLS - and while Seattle can afford it, people are now starting to question whether they should have.
When he first arrived the performances improved. In fact they won six of their next seven games. But Dempsey was not always present. Injury saw him often drop out, and the only real influence he seemed to have was as a general lift for the entire team. But that seems like a slightly quasi-Messianic view toward his impact at the club.
So what has his impact been?
Well he has featured in just six games for the club since his move - and so far has no goals and no assists either. In American sport, where stats are considered so important, there is no hiding place for these figures.
But maybe he is bringing more to the game. Well yes, his pass success rate is decent, at 83.1 %. But it is still only the sixth best in the team.
His shooting is way off. His 3.5 shots per game is more than any other Sounder by a mile, with Eddie Johnson in second on 2.5. Yet, he still hasn’t found the back of the net. Dempsey always had a knack for winning headers whilst playing in England as well. But not in the MLS - he is struggling to win just one header per game.
He is currently the clubs most fouled player per game, which might explain a thing or two about his injury problems and trouble to be effectual in games. Clearly he is being earmarked for ‘special treatment’ by opponents - the sort of treatment he likely never got specifically aimed at him in England.
But the fact is, he is giving the ball away too much as well - the second worst on the team with 2.8 dispossession's per game.
And any effect he was having by presence is now cooling off, and fast.
The Sounders are without a win in four - losing their last two games 5-1 and 4-1 against the Colorado Rapids and Vancouver Whitecaps respectively.
When Dempsey signed it seemed so unreal it was almost dreamlike. Now a sharp turn in fortunes is needed for it to not become a nightmare.
What do you make of Clint Dempsey’s start to his MLS career?
image: © NathanF