Wise Men Say: Here’s hoping Defoe can add vital spark

editorial image
Have your say

Have there been any developments at the Stadium of Light in the last few days worth mentioning?

The arrival of Jermain Defoe is a fascinating one.

His was a name regularly brandished around by fans as a solution to our goalscoring problems when engaging in any sort of pub or social media chat.

I was always fairly dismissive of the idea on two fronts: a) we don’t play the correct system to give him sufficient service and b) there’s not a chance in hell that we’d see him on Wearside for both geographical and financial reasons.

The latter point means the transfer has come as a surprise to most and the natural reaction is to be pleased.

Look at the deal in a simplistic manner as possible and then conclude whether or not you’d rather have Jermain Defoe on the field ahead of Jozy Altidore.

I’d be interested to hear from anyone who wouldn’t.

Even if someone starts to get into a sensible debate about the pitfalls of it all, you could simply turn to them and say “We’ve swapped Jozy Altidore for Jermain Defoe”.

However, that first point can’t be totally ignored; though I refuse to sap too much optimism out of the deal, on the grounds that being a Sunderland fan can be joyless enough at times.

Those deducing Poyet will simply change his system to try and get two strikers playing up front together, have to ask why this has barely been done before.

This was never a plan when Borini was here, and it’s never been a plan when Wickham and Fletcher have started games together.

Until we see what happens in reality, and with our own eyes, the doubts about Defoe playing as a lone striker will remain somewhere for a lot of us.

I guess that’s the point really, we’ll just have to wait and see.

If someone takes Danny Graham off our hands (easier said than done, I know) then nobody can really complain if we go into the final leg of the season with these three strikers on the books, rather than the previous four.

For what we’ve actually seen of Graham in the Premier League, offsetting his wages for a tried and tested Premier League striker is OK with me, even if it then means we’re a man lighter.

Unless someone can find us the new Wilfried Bony for the fee we’d realistically receive for Jozy Altidore, that is? Thought not.

There’s a degree of sympathy for the outgoing Altidore too.

He looked decent in his early days here, but as each game went by a further piece of his confidence went with it and he was a shell of the player he looked like in Holland by the disappointing end.

Furthermore, the abuse he received from some made me root for him and the way he conducted himself in the face of it all, particularly on Twitter, means I’ll always respect him.

I really hope his move is a successful one.

Yet we all hope Jermain’s move is the successful one first and foremost, and the fairytale element we often see in football suggests tomorrow could be the perfect game for him to reacquaint himself with the Premier League.

If I was a Spurs fan, I’d feel slightly uneasy about the fact a former goalscoring favourite was set to make his return to the Premier League at his old stomping ground – having trained at the club prior to his move!

Some stories write themselves, let’s hope this one does.


H The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Gus Poyet. You can be stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes.