3 Reasons Why Tottenham Hotspur Won't Miss Jermain Defoe
A striker who ranks fifth on the club's all-time scoring list with over 140 goals, Defoe's name has been regularly sung by Spurs supporters from the stands of White Hart Lane and beyond.
The sight of the goal-hungry striker finding the back of the net in the Premier League will certainly be missed. However, there are reasons this parting of ways could be a timely one for Spurs (not to mention for Defoe himself).
Over the following few slides, we list three main reasons Defoe's presence in North London will not be missed.
There are few guarantees behind them; rather, the underlying theme is that of a club moving on from one of its key figures of the last 10 years.
Defoe Will Not Be Playing Against Tottenham
Toronto coming in for Jermain Defoe worked out conveniently for Tottenham.
Not only are they getting a healthy transfer fee for the 31-year-old—reported by The Telegraph to be "in excess of £8 million"—but they also do not have to worry about the prospect of Defoe coming back to haunt them with another Premier League club.
Prior to the announcement of the Toronto deal, the Daily Mail were among those linking the striker with a move back to his old club, West Ham United. Last summer, Dave Kidd and Tom Hopkinson of the Mirror were talking up interest from Stoke City.
Defoe's intentions had the MLS opportunity not come up will likely remain unknown. Spurs will be grateful they did not have to seriously contemplate letting him go to a club within their division.
The aforementioned Daily Mail story suggested West Ham wanted him on loan, in which case Spurs might have avoided coming up against him this season anyway.
Nonetheless, they will feel better knowing that allowing Defoe regular first-team football elsewhere is not going to affect them.
Spurs Now Have a More Streamlined Attack
Tottenham selling Defoe does, of course, mean one less option for manager Tim Sherwood to choose from in attack.
Three recognised strikers remain in Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado, and Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela could also be utilised in forward roles.
Spurs' issues with personnel shortages in defence this season demonstrate how quickly a healthy position can disappear. Injuries and/or poor form could make it so Defoe's departure is one they rue before the year is out.
If that is the worst-case scenario, a more positive outlook is that Sherwood now has a more streamlined attack to work with. He does not have to worry so much about fitting in the England man or about the repercussions of leaving him out.
The nagging urge to use an experienced professional who has been playing a bit-part role does make it so coaches can overthink certain decisions. Former boss Andre Villas-Boas did as much when he brought Defore in to start against West Ham United in October. It did not pay off, with Spurs losing 3-0.
Sherwood still has genuine, proven goalscorers in Adebayor and Soldado (although the latter has had issues with form this season). Now, the focus will be on getting the best out of them and others who remain.
In setting out more focused playing objectives for the Spurs attack, the potential is there for it to increase its effectiveness over the remainder of the campaign.
The Chance to Try Something (or Someone) Different
Despite Defoe generally being a good performer for Tottenham over the years, he has not scored so regularly over the last year that the club was desperate to keep him around.
In fairness to Defoe, injury hurt his momentum early in 2013. This season, the arrival of Roberto Soldado and Andre Villas-Boas' preference for using a lone striker made starting opportunities in the right circumstances hard to come by.
Nonetheless, when Defoe did have chances, he did not always make the most of them.
His leaving gives Spurs an opportunity to try something or someone new up front. In the short term, that might not be much more than academy product Harry Kane seeing his own first-team playing opportunities increase.
Heading into the summer and next season, the possibilities will truly begin to emerge.
No matter Spurs' situation, there is a strong likelihood that they will look into the transfer market for a new striker. The success of their current crop of forwards will also influence just how much they spend and the type of attacker they look to recruit.
Sherwood (if he is still in charge) will have scope to engineer his own approach to his team's attack moving forward.
Stylistically, there is more room to breathe now too. In the current climate of Premier League strikers, a primary poacher like Defoe is comparatively old-fashioned.
While Soldado's presence will ensure they do not move too far away from here, Spurs could try something a little different if they so desire.