Connect in the back of the net

This summer’s transfer window early buzz has revolved around strikers, with Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann linked to Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku honing-in on a return to Chelsea, and Diego Costa exiting the same.

With the sponsor of Mansion Group, an online casino giant with a variety of online casino games, classic casino games etc and with the high-profile and expensive deals,  it is easy to overlook that one of the canniest moves may be a 34-year-old joining Bournemouth FC.

Jermain Defoe had all but confirmed he is joining the Cherries in a recent interview with Sky Sports News, stating that he has had a medical with the club, which has now been officially finalised.

Defoe has had a spell with the south coast club before, scoring 18 goals in 29 appearances for the then Second Division team on loan from West Ham United in the 2000/2001 season.

 

Defying the odds

The England international recently left relegated Sunderland, his 15 goals unable to secure the Black Cats’ Premier League status. He scored 37 goals over 3 seasons, having joined in 2014 after a spell in the MLS with Toronto.

Most pundits presumed at the time that his trip to Canada was one-way, an inglorious end to a career that included 19 goals for England and spells with Tottenham and Portsmouth, winning the League Cup with Spurs.

Defoe has compounded those expectations, returning to the England fold to score against Lithuania in a recent World Cup qualifier. He has put his longevity down to a strict vegan diet and the use of a cryotherapy unit.

 

Fierce competition

The striker was undoubtedly top dog at Sunderland, fellow striker Fabio Borini only contributing two goals to the relegation fight last season. This will not necessarily be the case at Bournemouth.

I have written before about Josh King’s excellent season under Eddie Howe, scoring 16 goals to help secure 9th place for the Cherries. Callum Wilson scored 6 before succumbing to his 2nd ACL injury in as many years in February, and will doubtless be raring to force himself back into the side this coming season.

Bournemouth also have the highly-rated Benik Afobe, who has managed 10 goals in red and black colours since joining from Wolves in 2016, and Lys Mousset, who has struggled for game time since joining from Le Havre.

Whether all their forwards are retained by the club is another question.

 

Still deadly

Bournemouth tend to play a 4-4-2 formation with either two forwards or one playing off an attacking midfielder. This style of football will suit Defoe, who generally played up front on his own for Sunderland.

Defoe is not the quickest or the strongest forward, but he remains one of the best penalty-box predators around. The Cherries midfield will no doubt supply him with plenty of chances to convert.

 

Could he play alongside King?

No doubt that would be the dream scenario for Eddie Howe.

Both are very different players, King tending to run at defenders and use his pace to get into space.

Perhaps King’s job would be to pay off Defoe and supply him with ammunition, although with the young Norwegian highly prized right now he would certainly not want to play second fiddle to a 34-year-old.

 

A likely starter

While Jermain is a free transfer in theory his wages are likely to be incredibly high for his age.

He will be too expensive to take up space on the Bournemouth bench, so you must presume Howe intends to use him in his starting line-up.

While the clubs has an embarrassment of strikers, their defence is one of the worst in the league; perhaps Howe should focus less on trying to outscore the opposition and shore up his back line, although reports are that 36-year-old John Terry is considering a move to Dean Court, possibly increasing the Cherries’ average age even more.

 

Hopefully the right step

With Defoe signing with Bournemouth, both parties will hope it is a step in the right direction.

England manager Gareth Southgate will certainly be keeping a keen eye on his performances, with an eye on bringing the then 35-year-old to Russia.

At this stage, you would be foolish to rule anything out when it comes to Jermain Defoe.

 

Written by Matthew Robson

Follow Matthew on Twitter @TheRobsonator93

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