Sounders Insider

Dream to reality in two years: Sounders GM explains how Dempsey deal came to be

Here is general manager Adrian Hanauer's opening statement at today's press conference welcoming designated player Clint Dempsey:

About two years ago, Joe Roth and I started having conversations about sort of the dream-big player that we could bring to our team. And I have give a ton of credit to Joe Roth in this particular case, because Joe is – as I’ve said – a no-guts, no-glory kind of guy. So we had these kinds of conversations, and Clint Dempsey’s name would always be at the top of the list. And so starting about two years, I would be in contact with (Dempsey’s agent) and inquire about Clint. And the answer was always no change. No chance, no chance, no chance. So every few months I’d give a call and get the same answer. And about five weeks or so ago, there started to be some rumors from England that maybe Clint could be sold from Tottenham. We didn’t know whether they were rumors, if there was any validity to it, but it was an opportunity to pick up the phone again. I called (the agent) again, and the answer was still no chance. So we sort of went on our way assuming that would continue to be the case. And then I’d say about two and a half weeks ago, I got a call from (an executive) in the MLS office concurrently the commissioner (Don Garber) was reaching out to Joe Roth: The message was there might be a chance. So we clearly jumped at that chink in the armor and wanted to figure out if there was a true opportunity here, or if it would be a passing opportunity. And Joe again was very quick to pounce at this and said, ‘This is the guy we’ve wanted for two years; let’s figure out how to do it.’ Truth be told, not having anything to do with Clint being the right guy for our team, I was a little more hesitant. This is a massive contract, a massive commitment from the club … and we’ve always wanted to run a really rational business. But the great part of that is we have a very good partnership – Joe Roth, myself, Paul Allen represented by Peter McLaughlin, and Drew Carey – and the four of us got together to make sure this was still a reasonable thing to do from a running-a-business standpoint. Once that box was checked, it was full steam ahead in that we felt Clint was the absolute right guy for our franchise at this time. From a playing standpoint, from a team dynamic standpoint, character, chemistry, what he does in the community and alongside that just a commitment to our fans – because we really do feel that we are stewards of this franchise for our fan base and they deserve players like we have on our team and a guy like Clint Dempsey.