Jermain Defoe is the man tasked with scoring the all important goals to keep Sunderland in the top flight this season but it also seems as though a couple of Premier League rivals would like him to carry out the same task for them when the transfer window reopens in January.
And it could be that Defoe is set to return to London with both Crystal Palace and West Ham reportedly in the running to acquire his services over the next few weeks. With the 34-year-old in demand, David Moyes is going to have his work cut out to keep hold of Sunderland’s talismanic forward.
West Ham would certainly have it’s own appeal as that is where Defoe made his Premier League debut and the Hammers are in desperate need of a forward of their own as they look to put more distance between themselves and the bottom three.
But it could be a move to South London and Crystal Palace that becomes the more likely as Sam Allardyce will look to once again link up with the former Tottenham forward, after their relatively successful time together at Sunderland last season.
Allardyce may have only been at the Stadium of Light for the best part of six months but in that time, he managed to transform a Sunderland side down on their luck and once again pull off another great escape. A huge part of that escape was thanks to Defoe’s 15 league goals and that is the kind of attribute that makes Defoe so appealing coming into the January transfer window.
Even with this floundering Sunderland side, Defoe has still managed to find the net on eight occasions. With 14 Premier League appearances that is a goal ratio better than one in two and one that is at least giving Sunderland a fighting chance of beating the drop.
But would the sale of Defoe end any chance of staying in the division? It could almost be a near suicidal move by David Moyes and Sunderland. The question is whether or not they can convince Defoe to stay in the North East for at least the remainder of the season.
It could very well come down to a question of Geography. It’s not to say that Defoe is necessarily unhappy with life on Wearside but at the same time, you get the feeling that he would love a move back down to his home city of London.
Also, from Sunderland’s point of view, they have very little in the way of funds coming into this transfer window to buy players of their own. With Defoe being the only real saleable asset it may well be that they have to sell their crown jewel to fund a more balanced squad.
If that is to be the case then it will come down to a simple decision. Does the former England international return to the club which gave him his big break back in 2001, or does he opt to link up with Sam Allardyce in a bid to rekindle that successful partnership?
Sunderland fans will have to hope that a move to London doesn’t materialise but if he does decide to leave in January, then their hopes of survival will take a crushing blow while providing a massive boost to one of their nearest relegation rivals.
Defoe may be 34, and there will certainly be no return on any investment when it comes to a potential transfer feel but if his signature is the difference between staying up or relegation then it will be a price that is very much worth paying.