Friday, 4 January 2019

Steven Gerrard is taking a big risk on Jermain Defoe - opinion

The Jermain Defoe deal, which is now into its second or third day, depending how you look at it, is certainly an eye-opening signature.

The 36-year old’s best days are certainly behind him, and his goal tally for this season in eight appearances is a pretty painful zero, while last time around in 24 appearances a mediocre 4.

An assumption is being made that ‘he’ll score a tonne in Scotland’ as if this league hasn’t made fools of players like Ian Wright, Joey Barton and even Basile Boli back in the day. The sheer disrespect for the standard of Scottish football and assumption that he’ll be great because he just will is dangerous.

We don’t deny his CV – he was once an excellent striker, who scored with quality and assurance – and he still does – just nowhere near as often.

But Steven Gerrard, if this deal does go through, is taking a bit of a gamble on the former Spurs man. This isn’t the 18 in 34 free-scoring White Hart Lane goal machine of nine years ago, or even the very effective 15 in 37 for Sunderland only two years ago, this is an older, more injury-prone and less capable striker who, unlike the Kenny Miller comparison, isn’t at the level he was.

Miller, amazingly, remains almost as good today as he did when he was 10, 15 years younger. Defoe has a lot to prove to show he still has what he even did at the Stadium of Light in 2016.

We are not lambasting this move, incidentally – we have a lot of respect for Defoe as you’ll see from our previous piece on him.

But in terms of what he will bring Rangers it is an undeniable gamble given the man hasn’t scored since March.

No, we’re not ‘writing him off before he’s even arrived’ – we’re stating the facts of this deal and of his recent form and injury status.

Hopefully he’s fully recovered and, if he does join, tears up the SPL in the way he could pre-injury. But that is a big if.

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