Jermain Defoe: Sunderland's Potential Saviour?

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Author: Dan Mason

Tags: 2016/17 Premier League

Published: 09:50 17/01/2015

Sunderland on Friday completed what is already being heralded as the deal of the 2015 January transfer window by bringing Jermain Defoe back to the Premier League, but how crucial will the former Spurs star prove for a Black Cats side battling for survival in English football's top-tier?

After a seemingly unhappy time in Canada despite the goal tally he achieved, it was Sunderland who emerged to grasp Defoe in a sprint to theline with Leicester City to complete the deal that proved too expensive for QPR, the striker penning a three-and-a-half year deal in the region of £70,000 a week in a swap deal with Toronto for Jozy Altidore.

Sunderland manager and former team-mate Gus Poyet says Defoe is highly likely to make his debut against former club Tottenham on Sunday at White Hart Lane, that latter's former team-mate Andros Townsend insisting that the striker will receive "a warm welcome" from both sets of supporters.

Betfred are one of the first to show their anytime goalscorer card to punters, pricing Defoe at 7/2 to net on his expected Sunderland debut.

Poyet's side have already been lauded for the acquisition of their latest signing, but how crucial will Defoe potentially be for the Black Cats as another fight for survival beckons?

Jermain Defoe completed his Premier League move to Sunderland on Friday

Sunderland To Escape Relegation Scrap?

A point from the bottom three prior to game week 22, Sunderland's costly relegation price is now as high as 10/3 with Coral to bring some ease to the situation on Wearside, however the club's recent run of poor form has seen them struggle for much success to celebrate in 2014/15.

The Black Cats have only won three of their 21 league matches this season and collected a solitary point from their past four ties, an injury-time Tyne-Wear derby winner providing the side's most recent bragging rights prior to Christmas thanks to Adam Johnson - top scorer for the club this season currently with five.

Sunderland have been in this situation enough times in the last handful of seasons to crumble spectacularly now, having made a great escape from what many called 'the impossible' in April/May 2014. That said, Defoe's presence and quick pace will surely allow Sunderland to create more chances and improve on their currently disappointing goal tally of 18 - only Aston Villa having scored fewer.

However, the bottom half of the table remains mightily close, local rivals Newcastle sitting 10th and just 10 points from the foot of the table. With that in mind, the recent run of fixtures are all certainly up for grabs for Sunderland with Burnley, Swansea (minus Wilfried Bony), QPR and West Brom coming after the trip to White Hart Lane this weekend, games which Defoe must use to bed himself into life on Wearside and give Sunderland the confidence to even push for a top-10 finish - 16/1 with Bet365.

What Defoe Will Bring

Besides 19 International goals for England, the London-born striker lies 14th on the list of all-time Premier League goalscorers ahead of the likes of Ian Wright, Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs, notching up a total of 124 during spells with West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham, the latter of which he made 352 appearances for and netted 137 times overall in those two periods where he became the darling of the London side.

Defoe once netted the second-fastest hat-trick in the Premier League among his five goals during Tottenham's 9-1 demolition of Wigan back in 2009/10, showing he has lost none of the touch by dragging MLS side Toronto along with 12 goals in 17 games during his debut campaign.

At 32 years of age, experience is held in abundance for Defoe, but as the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Steven Gerrard continue to prove, that should not be a factor. What will be crucial is that his new team-mates create and provide the chances for Defoe to attack the goal consistently enough, where his finishing qualities can ultimately be demonstrated.

To prove that hunger for goals, Defoe sits on a ratio of a goal every 2.3 games, comfortably ahead of his new team-mates; Steven Fletcher has 106 career goals but an average of one goal per 3.5 games, Connor Wickham meanwhile sitting on an average of 4.5 but still at a young stage in his career with 36 goals in 161 games.

Jermain Defoe In Numbers:

Premier League Games: 381
Goals - 124 (14th highest in PL)
Goal Ratio Per Game - 2.3
Toronto FC goals - 12 (In 17 games)
PL Yellow Cards - 34
PL Red Cards - 2

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