WTTGT Writer: Vivek Arulnathan
With Arsenal stating their intentions to sign a top class striker to partner Van Persie, several names have been doing the rounds in the media. Gervinho, Moussa Sow and Karim Benzema have all been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates though the latter has insisted on staying at Real Madrid.
There have also been some absurd speculations like a move for Gonzalo Higuain in spite of him being the number one striker at Real. Peter Odemwingie is the only Premier League name to be linked but if reports in the Daily Star are to be believed, Arsenal are eyeing up a shock move for Spurs striker Jermain Defoe.
Though there is no official word regarding this development, one shouldn’t be surprised if Defoe follows the footsteps of Sol Campbell in making the short move across North London.
Arsène Wenger has a reputation of reviving careers and also bringing the best out of players who haven’t performed to expectations. Defoe’s talents have never been in question. His recent brace against Wolves in Tottenham’s 3-3 draw showed just how good he can be provided he’s in form. The quality of his two 25-yard strikes was astonishing. But unfortunately for him he very rarely is in top form this season.
Defoe was born on Oct 7, 1982 in London and joined the FA National School of Excellence, Shropshire as a 14- year old. Though it was Charlton Athletic who enrolled him there, two years later he decided to join West Ham and Charlton were paid £1.4m in compensation.
He made his debut in the League Cup match against Walsall in September 2000 and scored on his debut in the 1-0 win. In the 2000/01 season, Defoe enjoyed a successful loan spell at Bournemouth as he scored 18 goals in just 29 matches. He returned to Upton Park the following year and enjoyed a three year spell from 2001/04 making 93 appearances and scoring 23 goals.
He moved to Tottenham in January 2004 for a reported £7m. During his spell between 2004 and 2008, he made 139 appearances and scored a respectable 43 goals. In January 2008 Defoe was sold to Portsmouth for £6m but returned the very next year to spurs for £15.75m in bizarre circumstances.
He scored 15 goals in his 30 games for the Portsmouth. Since his return to White Hart Lane, he has scored a respectable 25 goals in 63 appearances till date.
He enjoyed his best day in league football when he became only the fourth player to score 5 goals in a match against Wigan when Spurs beat them 9-1 in November 2009. He scored his 100th Premier League goal against West Brom this season which incidentally was also Spurs’ 1000th goal in the Premier League era. He has also scored 15 goals in 46 appearances for England.
Defoe is widely considered as an inconsistent performer and is also injury prone. His main strength is his unpredictable nature. He is a quick thinking striker with a poacher’s instinct in front of goal and has a fantastic shot from outside the area. He is also lightning-quick and his small stature aids his agility and movement. Also he can be used as an impact substitute because his pace and movement can cause havoc to tired defenders. On the flip side, he is an inconsistent finisher who on several occasions has shot straight at the keeper in one-on-one situations. He notably also has a selfish nature in possession.
Despite his weaknesses, Arsenal would profit from his signing. Spurs are ready to listen to offers of around £10m as they are reportedly preparing a £70m clear out to revamp the squad with better quality.
In Van Persie, Arsenal have one of the best players in holding up the ball and so Defoe will be a perfect partner for him. Also this will allow Van Persie to play in his favorite deep lying forward role where he can make better use of his passing and playmaking abilities (the role Rooney plays in partnership with Hernandez).
Defoe is also a player who takes risks and is not afraid to take a long shot at goal which I think most of the current Arsenal players very rarely do.
His directness will provide a different dimension to our frontline, but how he will be treated by fans of both clubs if he decides to make the switch will be interesting.
This transfer looks unlikely but is not out of the picture. Wenger’s transfer skills will surely be tested in this move and it will be an engaging transfer saga if Arsenal decide to approach the Spurs hit man.
For Defoe, it would arguably be his last chance to join one of the bigger clubs in the league as he approaches the twilight zone of his career so the move could well appeal to him.