The big transfer news in the Premier League last week was that Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe has agreed to join MLS side Toronto FC.
The deal will see the Englishman move to the Canadian side at the end of February for £6 million and see him earn at least £68,000 a week. He will be eligible to play for Spurs until then,
It has come as a shock to many, especially considering he is the club’s fifth all-time top scorer and has spent eight years at White Hart Lane across two spells.
He is also the club’s all-time top scorer in European competition and seven of his nine goals this season have come in the Europa League.
However, he is spending a lot of time on the bench in the league, prompting rumours about his departure which have subsequently come true.
Toronto FC, who were only founded in 2006, are managed by former Premier League defender Ryan Nelsen and are captained by Scottish defender Steven Caldwell.
But some fans think that Tottenham were wrong to sell Defoe, so find out my five reasons why they should have kept him.
Warning: this piece contains a lot of MLS hate!
1. Spurs are lacking in strikers
Andre-Villas Boas’ system at Spurs meant that they often played with just one striker, but new boss Tim Sherwood has reverted from this method in his small amount of time in charge, and has also brought in Emmanuel Adebayor from the cold.
With Defoe gone, it real only leaves the Togo international and Roberto Soldado as the only out and out centre forwards at White Hart Lane.
Unless Sherwood splashes the cash on a new striker this month, which he’s said he won’t, Spurs could find themselves with a problem if one of the two gets injured or they suffer from player fatigue due to the end of season hectic fixture list.
Although Defoe may only be on the bench, it means that he is always ready should any of the above happen. Without him at the club, Spurs don’t have that assurance of back-up.
2. It could ruin Defoe’s chances of playing at the World Cup
At this moment in time, I would seriously put Defoe in my England World Cup squad, simply because of his experience and knack of always scoring that vital goal. Without him in South Africa, the Three Lions would have headed home in the group stages.
I’m sure Roy Hodgson also has Defoe in his mind as a possibility to take to Brazil, but in my opinion moving to Canada could scupper his chances of featuring in the summer.
Hodgson’s only chance to watch him play is until February, as going over to America will take up at least a few days. The question also is, does he want Defoe in his squad bad enough to take a few trips to the MLS?
I know others will disagree, but I think that if Defoe just stayed in England until the end of the season, then his chances are a lot higher. This could also be his last chance of playing in a major tournament.
3. He is the ultimate impact substitute
It may not be a role he is happy with, but Defoe is the most effective substitute in the Premier League’s history, with his stats better than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s.
The Cardiff City boss has 19 goals after coming off the bench, whilst Defoe has 22 after doing so.
If Spurs are need of a goal or a new gear, Defoe is the man to call upon. He has spoken how he would like to start more, but it just seems to be that he always performs better as a substitute.
It is the surprise factor more than anything. It proved on Saturday against Crystal Palace.
Spurs were leading 1-0 with just under an hour gone, but their lead didn’t look secure, with Palace on top. On comes Defoe, and scores within 14 minutes of arriving on the pitch, securing the points to take Tottenham up to fifth.
It is goals like these that have been key to Spurs’ success in recent years.
4. Defoe still has a lot more to give
The MLS is usually a league foreign players go to as they look to end the careers and have nothing much else to give.
This isn’t the case with Defoe. At 31 years old, yes, he is in the latter stages of his career, but that by no means he has lost his quality.
I don’t mean to be rude about the MLS, but it always somewhere players go after they have had their best, have passed their peak, with prime examples being David Beckham and Thierry Henry, who, saying that, have found great success in moving across the Atlantic.
But I think that Defoe still has at least two more seasons at the top, possibly three or four. In my opinion, if he had to leave Tottenham then it should have been to another Premier League club, so he was still playing at the top.
5. Toronto FC have no real ambitions and identity
Another reason which is thinking of the player, this isn’t to say that they are the wrong club in the wrong league for Defoe to move, but there are questions to be asked about what Toronto have actually done or are going to do.
Formed in 2006, coaches and come and go very often at Toronto FC, with current coach Ryan Nelsen coming into the job with no previous managerial experience.
His team won six of their 34 games in the season that finished in October, lost 17, drew 11 and finished second from bottom of the Eastern Conference, getting nowhere near the play-offs – pretty much in line with what it has been like in every year of their existence. In 2012 it was even worse, finishing 19th out of 19 MLS teams. The previous year they were 16th out of 18 but with the worst defence in the competition.
It seems that Defoe is joining a club going nowhere, and could easily end his career after achieving nothing in America.
This article is also being published on Touchline Talk, the website I write for. You can look at previous pieces of mine here:
Also, congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has I write has just won the FIFA Ballon D’or for 2013. Well deserved in my opinion. If you remember, I did a piece in December detailing my top ten players of last year, putting Cristiano Ronaldo at number one. You can read it by looking in my blog archives.