Since putting a rather abrupt stop to his short-lived MLS career with Toronto FC this January, Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe certainly hasn’t taken long to successfully re-adjust back into the flow of week-to-week Premier League football once again.
Amid a series of somewhat unsubstantiated reports suggesting that the former England international was due to be dropped by current Black Cats manager, Dick Advocaat, throughout the coming season, 32-year-old Defoe has nonetheless done the Stadium of Light faithful proud this term.
The former West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham striker has so far notched an impressive five goals in all competitions for Sunderland in 2015/16, reasonably proving that a player of his age can still cut it in the Premier League on the back of pure footballing ability alone.
So then, in light of Tottenham Hotspur’s somewhat frustrating start to the new campaign – especially among Mauricio Pochettino’s striking department – is it fair to suggest that Jermain Defoe could in-fact still do a job back at White Hart Lane this term, had circumstances allowed him to?
Well, considering the fact that Sunderland’s ageing front-man still has it in him to beat top-flight goal-keepers at will, with off-ball movement that would bamboozle even the most organised defences the Premier League has to offer – perhaps Spurs might have indeed missed a trick in releasing Jermain Defoe when they did.
There’s no doubt that the 32-year-old would have aided Tottenham’s fate in front of goal last season however, for although Harry Kane certainly contributed his fair share of goals to Pochettino’s cause in 2014/15 – the White Hart Lane faithful still could have done with that extra pair of legs alongside the emerging 22-year-old, just waiting to make an explosive impact in and around the penalty area.
Admittedly, Mauricio Pochettino has seemingly never been one to play an abundance of strikers in his preferred match-day formation of course – with Harry Kane largely going down as the only recognised centre-forward in most starting line-ups at Spurs – yet the former Southampton boss still could have called upon someone like Defoe to steer his side away from trouble last season.
Thanks to his effective link-up play in the final third, uncanny understanding of the game and spatial awareness in front of goal, as well as some good old-fashioned reliability in one-on-one situations, Jermain Defoe rarely proves someone to let his manager down. You just always know what you are going to get with the former Hammers youngster – and sometimes – certain teams out there simply need that kind of guarantee on board throughout each passing campaign, Tottenham are just one of many in the end.
The likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, and the recently departed Roberto Soldado, ultimately didn’t cut it for Mauricio Pochettino last term when their side needed them most. Adebayor seemingly only turns up when he wants to – and as for Soldado – well perhaps the least said about his rather unfortunate plight in the Premier League, the better. Either way though, Tottenham seriously needed some added fire power last term, regardless of whether or not their fans would have been keen on re-signing Jermain Defoe.
However, whilst the advent of Defoe back at White Hart Lane admittedly seems to have made sense looking back on last season, Tottenham Hotspur just no longer require someone of his overall skill-set going into the new campaign. Daniel Levy may have proved somewhat tight with the club’s resources before his latest foray into the summer transfer market, but seeing as Bayer Leverkusen’s Heung-Min Son has only just been officially announced as Spurs player for the new term, the White Hart Lane faithful are all of a sudden on the end of some much renewed confidence.
Although Jermain Defoe can still clearly cut it at the highest level, the signing of South Korea’s latest footballing sensation ultimately represents a younger, fitter and more exciting new striker who can also play on the flanks with a fair amount of efficiency. Son therefore arrives as a somewhat updated version of Defoe if you will, even if Tottenham previously wanted West Brom’s Saido Berahino to come in and fill such a void for their team this season.
All in all, Mauricio Pochettino has to push his club forward now that the 2015/16 campaign is upon him, and as good as Jermain Defoe still proves to be in the modern era, such a re-signing would probably only symbolize a clear backwards step for Tottenham Hotspur in the cold light of day.