Jermain Defoe got off the mark for the season at his new club Bournemouth after his free transfer move from Sunderland. The winner came in the 73rd minute against Brighton at the Vitality Stadium. A well taken goal which saw him let the ball run across his body before finishing low to the keepers right – an expert finish. At 34 he may be coming to the end of his career but the former Tottenham striker still has enough quality to grab goals at the highest level of English football.
Defoe’s record is of the highest class. Five years at West Ham, one spent on loan at the club he now represents, set the tone. 93 games for ‘the Hammers’ returned 29 goals. His year with Bournemouth on gave him the platform to return to West Ham in 2001 and do the majority of his goalscoring for his parent club. 2000/01 was the campaign Defoe spent at Bournemouth in his younger days and saw him hit the back of the net 18 times in his 29 games.
A big move to Tottenham in 2004 was another successful period seeing Defoe spend three and a half happy years at White Hart Lane. Scoring 43 times in that period for ‘Spurs’ he decided to join Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth. Confusion over the deal being a loan was quickly quashed and it was revelled he had signed a four and a half year deal at ‘Pompey’. As ever goals came. 14 in 30 outings for Portsmouth in his year long spell pushed the club forward.
It was always a concern for Portsmouth football club when Redknapp left for Tottenham in October 2008 as Defoe and the manager had a special relationship. Those fears were realised when Defoe switched back to Tottenham following Redknapp in January 2009. In this five year stint Defoe out stayed Redknapp after he was sacked in 2012. It is no surprise that Defoe scored goals again at Tottenham adding 47 in 135 for the north London outfit.
A move to the Major League Soccer followed but he was never going to stay there long. He still had a lot to offer in more prestigious leagues and at a higher level of football. A move back to the Premier League was inevitable and he joined Sunderland in January 2015. He was fighting a losing battle at the club as they were consistently threatened with relegation. His goals saved them for some time, 34 of them in 87 games, but they eventually went down to the Championship.
Now it is Bournemouth who have the luxury of having a potent goalscorer like Defoe leading their line. He is off the mark this season scoring a wonderful goal and still in England consideration. He is still sharp, has a turn of pace and can finish from anywhere. While he is getting towards the end of his career and losing some of his natural speed the experience he now has has improved his movement and his understanding of the game. He is just as dangerous as he has ever been.
Bournemouth are in for a tough season. The difference between mid table and a relegation battle comes down to tiny margins. Defoe with all his experience and ability takes some of the pressure off. They will expect him to decide crucial games, like he did against Brighton, and they are justified in doing so. He has scored 159 goals in the Premier League and clearly knows how to find the back of the net.
It is not just the now that the Defoe effect will be felt. The experience he can pass on to the younger players at Bournemouth is vital. Eddie Howe has produced a great bit of business for his club here. The fire power brought by Defoe will help save Bournemouth from any relegation trouble this campaign.
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