Is Defoe the Hero Spurs Need Right Now?


Vincent Janssen made the mistake of exhibiting his wheezy, awkward stylings in front of the BBC cameras last weekend, which probably means his career is over.

Once the MOTD panel give their damning verdict, a wise council so often filled with former strikers— on this occasion, Alan Shearer, Dion Dublin and, host, Gary Linker were the men in the studio —it can be difficult to haul yourself out of the tar pit.

Whither under the glare of the most mainstream of mainstream spotlights today and, well, tomorrow you might as well be looking for a new profession.

So it came to pass. By anyone’s standards, Janssen was bad in Spurs’ 2-0 F.A Cup third round victory over Steve Bruce’s Plucky® Aston Villa on Sunday.

Tottenham fans were treated to paradoxical loops of the Dutch international being super eager to impress, while simultaneously being foiled by his own keenness to shoot on-sight or make a game-changing contribution. A never-ending cycle. A snake eating its own tail…and then being sick.

So often were hurried attempts on goal scuffed or runs made into joy-sucking black holes. Evading a Villa defender was made to look like some great Sisyphean task. It was tough to watch.

Pochettino’s introduction of Dele Alli on the hour almost felt like a mercy kill.

The good news, despite Lineker’s comparison to Roberto Soldado, is that the Dutchman remains comparatively young. Janssen was  born in the summer of the US World Cup, which, for maths fans makes him 22. More than enough miles left on the clock, then. Years in which to iron out those kinks. Confidence and mental strength, unlike terminal slowness, are things that can be cultivated over time and under the right managerial guidance and coaching.

Alan Shearer spoke of a fear of missing chances on Sunday, which is undeniably true. But nothing that wouldn’t be solved by, you know, taking some of those chances. Maybe all is not lost yet.

The unsurprising consequence of Janssen’s F.A Cup bomb, is that sections of the media— and many fans, to be honest— are calling for Tottenham to spend big in January on another striker. To pick up some of the considerable slack being left by young Vincent.

And who could this mystery attacker possibly be, to help Spurs on their way to another title push?

Robbie Savage has an idea.

Bring back Jermain Defoe.

The problem with Savage’s suggestion is, at least, two-fold. One, despite Defoe still proving to be a relentless finisher— 29 in his last 55 games for Sunderland—  it’s debatable whether he still has the physical attributes to function in Pochettino’s intense pressing system.

He couldn’t manage it under AVB four years ago, it’s unlikely he’s somehow reversed the debilitating effects of aging to cope in 2017.

Secondly, you could relegate Sunderland now if they were to sell Defoe. The upshot being that his value to them is always going to be disproportionate to his actual worth. The pocket-sized goal-a-tron means a heck of a lot more to the North East club than he does Tottenham.

That being the case, you wouldn’t blame David Moyes for wanting £30m for Defoe, such is his importance to Sunderland’s survival chances.

It’s (probably) not happening.



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