Rivalry shouldn’t stop Defoe joining Newcastle United

Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has told talkSPORT that he would not want to sign Jermain Defoe from rivals Sunderland this summer.

What’s the word?

The Magpies have been touted as a possible option for the striker, who is expected to leave Sunderland after they were relegated to the Championship.

Defoe was a shining light in their dismal season after scoring 15 goals in 25 Premier League appearances.

Rafael Benitez has been told by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley that he has plenty of money to spend on transfers, but Shepherd is not keen on Defoe being one of them.

During an interview with talkSPORT, the club’s ex-chief swiftly said “it wouldn’t be for me” when prompted about the rumours linking Defoe to St James’ Park, but he added that Benitez should bring in some experienced players.

Shepherd did not explain why he was not keen on the club recruiting Defoe, but the 34-year-old’s two-and-a-half-year spell at the Stadium of Light could be the problem.

Does club rivalry come into it?

In some cases, it is unthinkable for certain players to join a major rival.

Now-retired footballers such as Steven Gerrard and Gary Neville would have been tortured had they swapped clubs, but that is because they were at Liverpool and Manchester United for lengthy spells.

Defoe has played for a number of different clubs over the course of his career, so it would not be a huge shock if he signed for Sunderland’s arch enemies.

If Benitez is looking for an experienced goalscorer, then Defoe is a positive option, but he would have to accept possibly playing second fiddle.