Bournemouth red-faced as £20m experiment with Jermaine Defoe fails
James Boyes (CC BY 2.0)
Jermaine Defoe made his second appearance in nearly two months for Bournemouth on November 10th. Eddie Howe introduced him in the second half of the Cherries’ Premier League defeat to Newcastle United. Defoe was given only eight minutes of playing time at St James’ Park, taking his total for the season to 252. His minimal usage highlights how much Bournemouth’s pricey gamble has failed.
Giving money away
Were Bournemouth foolish to spend so much money on an ageing player? Bournemouth re-signed Jermaine Defoe on a three-year deal worth £20 million from Sunderland in 2017, despite the England striker free agency at the time. Defoe negotiated a mammoth signing-on-fee, lengthy contract and lofty wages, all at the age of 34. In hindsight, it was a foolish deal for Bournemouth to accept.
Before moving to Dean Court, Defoe’s reputation rose in his final two seasons at Sunderland. He scored 15 Premier League goals in 2015/16, another 15 the following season. His good work in a bad squad led to a return to the England fold. Bournemouth needed an experienced top-flight striker like Defoe. The problem was the steep price for a player poised on the downhill side of his career
Defoe will be on the cusp of 38 when his contract ends at Dean Court. It isn't likely he'll still be playing.
Defoe’s first season at Bournemouth was a major disappointment. Four goals in 24 league games were underwhelming for a player who'd produced 30 over the past two campaigns. Defoe needed five games to get on the scoresheet for the Cherries, another seven outings to grab his second.
An ankle injury then sidelined him for two months between late-December and late-February. When he returned, his starting place was gone. Before his injury, the 36-year-old started nine of his 15 league appearances. He made only two from the nine that followed. Unsurprisingly, Defoe managed just one league goal after his ankle injury. He found himself further down the pecking order the following season.
Defoe has four appearances this term, all from the bench. Here's how they clocked out:
- one minute against Cardiff City on August 11th
- 12 minutes against Burnley on September 22nd
- one minute against Fulham on October 27th
- eight minutes against Newcastle on November 10th.
He’s been an unused substitute on seven occasions and left out of the matchday squad once.
Meanwhile, Callum Wilson has been in sensational form, scoring six goals and making four assists in 12 league outings. He’s played 1058 minutes from a possible 1080 in the top-flight and likely won’t be dropped unless he’s short of fitness. To drive the point home, he scored for England in Friday's friendly against the United States.
Joshua King is ahead of Defoe in the pecking order too, having made nine league appearances.
Despite having two years left on his contract, Defoe’s future at Bournemouth looks bleak. Eddie Howe clearly has no place for him in the side. The Cherries could do without his reported £65k-per-week wages and must be regretting the £20 million deal to bring him back to Dean Court.