For all the love and respect Jermain Defoe amassed from the White Hart Lane faithful during his time in North London, it remains a questionable issue as to why Tottenham eventually let their beloved hitman leave the Premier League for the MLS roughly this time last year.
Yes – at 32-years-old the former England international may be no spring chicken and behind both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado in the pecking order – but alongside the in-form Harry Kane, many believe Jermain Defoe could still be comfortably finding the net for Spurs in 2015.
With other attacking transfer targets likely to be prioritised by Defoe’s former employers this January, Tottenham’s loss is Sunderland’s gain now that Gus Poyet has managed to land the tricky forward on a permanent basis at the Stadium of Light. As the Black Cats have a great deal of work cut out this year if they are to successfully stave off relegation for another season, could the Jermain Defoe deal spark a surprise rise up the table for Poyet’s determined side?
Whilst Defoe is hardly going to perform any miracles with his new club right away, seeing as it will take a lot more than one player to cure all of Poyet’s problems, there is still much the former England international can do to appease their current woes. Although Sunderland have tightened up dramatically at the back in since their 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Southampton, they still struggle at the other end of the field.
Too many draws have therefore been something Gus Poyet has been looking to remedy in recent months, but now that Jermain Defoe has put on their red & white stripes for the first time, such issues may soon start to dissipate for the Stadium of Light faithful.
After all, they are hardly signing a fresh new face in this deal. Defoe is not someone who doesn’t know the league, or a player who needs time to settle into English football – he is a vastly experienced Premier League star and a good one at that.Everyone knows that he is a finisher. The new Black Cats no. 28 has a great turn in front of goal, intelligent movement off defenders when he doesn’t have the ball, and a seemingly constant awareness of where the goal is and how the keeper can be beaten.
Scoring goals is simply Jermain Defoe’s game, and Sunderland need all the help they can get in that department right now. Since Jozy Altidore has now made the switch back to the MLS in the wake of Poyet’s new signing, the Black Cats boss might finally see the goals start to become that bit more frequent for his team.
Although this deal won’t arrive without its fair share of problems –such as potentially unlucky injuries and the bedding-in time needed for Defoe to gel with the likes of Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham – on the surface it would seem the perfect fit. Whilst nothing is guaranteed in football however, the fact that Jermain Defoe wants to claim back his England place with Sunderland, shows a great deal of intent from the player at his new club.
Despite failing to score on his debut against Tottenham, of all clubs, last time out, things will only improve for the nifty striker down at the Stadium of Light. If he steadily shows his class of yesteryear, with a bit of injury avoiding fortune on the side, it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine Sunderland relegated with Jermain Defoe on board.
Time, as always, will tell.