In Focus: West Ham eye move for experienced striker; would only be a short-term fix

According to reports in The Sun on Wednesday, West Ham United are looking to sign Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe this summer, and they could even bring him in on a free transfer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, despite being 34 years of age, Defoe has enjoyed a brilliant season for the Mackems – scoring 14 of the 24 Premier League goals that the Wearside outfit has managed in total this term – but it doesn’t look like it will be enough to save them from relegation to the Championship.

David Moyes’ men are currently bottom of the English top flight table and seven points from safety with 10 fixtures of the campaign remaining.

His impressive form has not only caught the attention of England manager Gareth Southgate after he was given his first call-up in more than three years last week, but also Slaven Bilic, who has endured a number of striker issues this term.

Why do West Ham need him now?

They need him because they need goals.

Slaven Bilic brought in Simone Zaza on loan last summer but after the Italian failed to score a single goal, he returned to parent club Juventus, while Andy Carroll has continued to be affected by injury problems.

It has on occasions left the Croatian boss without a recognised striker this term, and he will have not only been impressed by Defoe’s goalscoring exploits, but also his physical condition and the number of appearances he has made for Sunderland this season.

Can he still have an impact?

Of course he can.

You only have to look at his record since he joined Sunderland in 2015 – the striker has netted 33 goals in 78 appearances in all competitions – to prove that he has lost none of his finishing ability.

This is just a short-term fix, though?

Because of his age, it has to be.

Defoe it is not the long-term solution to West Ham’s striking problems, and Bilic also has to look at bringing in an option for the future too alongside the 34-year-old this summer.

Why would he be available on a free?

The story in The Sun suggests that should Sunderland go down, there is a clause in Defoe’s contract that would mean he could leave the Stadium of Light on a free transfer if a Premier League comes in for him.