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Sunderland’s survival is heavily reliant on Jermain Defoe

Tuesday 17th January 2017
Having finished in the bottom five of the Premier League in three of the last four seasons, Sunderland face a recurring scenario - a relegation battle. Although, one positive for the club is Jermain Defoe, a striker who continues to find the net with regularity.

Jermain Defoe is renowned for his goalscoring exploits in the English top flight: the Sunderland striker is sixth on the all-time list of Premier League leading goalscorers, having found the net 166 times while playing for West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur (twice), Portsmouth, and now the Black Cats - a club he joined in 2015. Over recent times, Defoe has consistently been one of the most formidable English strikers, which saw him earn 55 international caps. At 34-years-old, Defoe is still at the top of his game and remains as important as ever for his current club, Sunderland.
This campaign has been another of disappointment up to now for Sunderland. David Moyes took charge of the club in the summer, but he couldn't prevent a disastrous start. The Black Cats failed to win any of their opening ten Premier League games, and although Moyes' side began to improve - with four victories in their next seven games, the club remains in serious trouble having picked up just one point in their last four encounters. All of this means Sunderland find themselves 19th in the table and facing an enormous task to avoid the drop; Defoe has a vital role to play.

Defoe's first Premier League goal came 15 seasons ago and judging by his most recent performances, the striker is showing no signs of relinquishing his goalscoring touch, having scored 12 times already this season - in a struggling team, which makes him the joint-fifth top scorer in the league. Sunderland have 20 goals to their name in the Premier League this campaign; Defoe's 12 strikes, along with 2 assists, means he has contributed to 70% of his side's goals in the league - a stat that proves how much he's depended on by Sunderland.

Not too many strikers plying their trade in England can compete with Defoe when it comes to his natural instinct in front of goal. He's one of the most deadly strikers around; that's why after recent reports from the Times of a £6million bid from West Ham, it's imperative Sunderland hold on to their main man. Defoe's intelligence on the pitch, experience, and goals are crucial for Sunderland's hopes of retaining their Premier League status come the end of the season. Not only do the Black Cats heavily rely on Defoe, but the club isn't in a position to replace him.
Sunderland's reliance on Defoe is primarily because of how consistent the striker is in front of goal, but there are also two other factors: 1, the club has no suitable replacement for Defoe in their squad, and 2, Sunderland have no money to spend in the January transfer window. Fabio Borini is a capable striker, but injury concerns and a lack of game time is a huge concern. Whereas Victor Anichebe isn't a proven goalscorer and he can't be counted on in the midst of a relegation fight. Concerning the funds available, this is what Moyes told the Daily Mail last month:
I didn't see us having no money (in January). Even in the summer I knew what we were spending was small in comparison — and I said that to the owner. But I hoped it would be a short period and we would then have the next period (January) to get things done. That has shown itself not to be the case. I'm disappointed that I will not be able to do some work in January and try and build on what we've done.
With no funds available to improve the squad and no alternative already at the club, Defoe is likely to remain the key weapon for Sunderland. The relegation battle will be a closely fought contest and Defoe's presence in a Sunderland shirt could tip the balance in his team's favour. It's clear that Sunderland's best chance of surviving in the Premier League this season is Jermain Defoe; Moyes' side are relying on their talisman's proven goalscoring ability to fire the Black Cats to safety, and in doing so, to secure another year for the club among the elite of English football.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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