Newcastle United want Jermain Defoe to swap Tottenham Hotspur for Tyneside and despite what he’s done for the club this fan is prepared to let him go.
After Tottenham’s lack of a prolific striker cost us re-entry to the Champions League last season it’s no surprise Harry Redknapp’s looking to reshape our attacking options. Also it’s no secret that to get new recruits in we’ll have to sell before he can buy.
It’s not a popular view but I wouldn’t shed a tear if Pavlyuchenko plied his trade elsewhere. The Russian knows what to do in and around the box but despite being a fine finisher he’s also f****** frustrating. It sounds silly but he really only does one thing well, score goals. I know it’s the most valuable commodity in football but he really doesn’t contribute anything else. He can’t hold it up, has a wayward touch and doesn’t work hard enough without the ball. When he isn’t banging them in he isn’t helping the team. In modern Premier League football you can’t afford to carry anyone, even if it’s a goal-scoring passenger. This is an accusation levelled at Defoe in the past but in the last three years - since breaking into Fabio Capello’s England squad - he’s worked to improve other parts of his game.
On the other hand Crouch might be the nicest man in football but were looking for Champions League football not a social secretary. The tall man with the lovely touch was largely rubbish for us last season and is too often found wanting against the big sides. As for Keano, thanks for the memories but you’re slow, miss sitters and we need you off the wage bill. There was a time when every Spurs fan dreamt of a team of Robbie Keanes. Sadly for everybody involved if that dream came true tomorrow it’d be a nightmare.
With the above in mind at the end of May Jermain Defoe would have been the last of our under performing front men I’d want to let go. Granted last season Pav scored more goals and Crouch had more assists but I’ve always thought Jermain was the best forward at the club.
If Newcastle come in with a £10 million bid for a high earning striker who’ll be 29 in three months Spurs should take it.
While always happy to have a pop at the other three I’d make excuses for JD. I’ve always liked him and thought he’d mature into a great striker. He’s instinctive with a thunderbolt shot that belies his diminutive figure plus he’s arguably one of the best finishers in the Premier League. When he’s on – especially during his first stint at the club – he’d guarantee goals. So when he was lumped in with our other strikers and dismissed by many as useless I was full of mitigating circumstances.
Jermain may not have had the best season by his high standards last year but that was down to that injuries right? He’d scored at the World Cup, bagged a hatrick at Wembley then got a knock on England duty that ruled him out for three months. After that a combination injury setbacks and being in and out of the team left him rusty in front of goal. But the guy has over 100 Premier League goals, you don’t turn into an awful player overnight.
But I’m not too blind to admit the lad has his limitations and it’s for these – if the money’s right – I’d be happy to see him go. Firstly Jermain’s not the cleverest striker when it comes to movement and is often caught offside. It’s a part of his game that has hardly improved despite being one of the first things you’d expect a front man to get their head around. Also Defoe can be selfish in possession. He rarely passes when closer than 25 yards out and although you like your strikers to be greedy in the box you want your players to have their head up when further out. There’s the issue that he generally only plays well in a two striker set-up and with the right kind of partner. We came unstuck a few times last season playing two up away from home. He’s not big or strong enough to play as a sole front man and that’s where our squad is going. The more effective Rafael van der Vaart demands more of a target to play off and we’ve amassed the midfield personnel to play 4-3-3.
Finally, Adam Summerton wrote a compelling piece detailing Premiership strikers who peaked before their 27th birthday, it happened with Robbie Fowler, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole; and it looks like it’s happening with Torres. Jermain is also sliding into that category. Since turning 28 Defoe’s has produced fewer goals and played fewer games since he was a teenager at West Ham. If we can get a decent fee for one of our best paid players who’s on the slide and replace him with a hungrier alternative that’s always going to be good business. Liverpool fans can attest to that.
So if Newcastle come in with a £10 million bid for a high earning striker who’ll be 29 in three months I think we should take it. I’d bid Defoe farewell and applaud him every time he returns to The Lane. But if he signed for Arsenal on the cheap, that’d be a different story…
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