Thursday, June 16, 2011

Arsenal Transfer Prospects: Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Signing Jermain Defoe

The Gunners have been linked with a number of players and though only young right back Carl Jenkinson has been confirmed as an Arsenal player, they are expected to sign more players in the next few weeks in order to build a team capable of challenging the best teams in the world. Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will look to strengthen in every position if there are quality players available.

The manager will have to deal with some frustrated players who have not played much this season and some of them like Nicklas Bendtner have expressed the need to move on. If the Danish striker does move on, it is likely that Wenger will look for a striker because Carlos Vela has not yet been able to impress for the Gunners despite having obvious potential.

Gervinho has been linked with the Gunners and is a possible target for Arsene Wenger. However, he is more of a winger having good pace and movement and can run at defenders which can cause problems for the defenders. Though he can play as the centre forward, he is more of a winger and Wenger might have to sign a centre forward in the summer.

Robin van Persie is one of the best strikers in the game and is prolific if he can string a number of games together. He scored 18 goals in the Premiership last season despite opening his account only from January because he missed almost the entire first half of the season. If not for injuries, he will have certainly scored more for the Gunners.

However, he has missed a number of games due to injuries and there is every possibility that he could be injured for some games in the next season as well though Arsenal would have a great chance if he makes around 30-35 league starts in the next season. But Wenger cannot depend on his fitness next season and will need to have quality depth in that position.

Gunners have been linked with a few "marquee" signings in this position like Karim Benzema and Radamel Falcao. One of the most surprising transfer rumours regarding strikers is that Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is targeted by Arsene Wenger according to the Mirror. This article is on the advantages and disadvantages of signing Defoe for Arsenal.


Defoe is a player who has a lot of pace and can create opportunities because of his movement and ability to run at defenders. The England International has proved that he can score regularly in the past though the 2010-11 season was certainly not one to remember for the striker. He is experienced in the Premiership which means he would not take time to adjust.

Though he has been inconsistent in the past, he is a striker who is capable of being prolific if provided with the right service and at Arsenal, he would easily be presented with a lot more opportunities than what he would get at Tottenham or any of his previous clubs. He has good technique and has excellent shooting ability.

The former West Ham striker has been inconsistent but has proven to be a good goalscorer at three different clubs. Though Arsenal's style of play is quite different to that of Tottenham, it is probable that he could have more chances to score goals. Also, he is quite direct in his style of play and will shoot if given an opportunity to do so, which is welcome for Arsenal where a number of players opt to pass inside the box instead of shooting.

If Bendtner does leave the club for around €11 million, then Arsenal might have to spend it on a new striker. Though Spurs will hate to sell to their arch-rivals, if Defoe does hand in a transfer request, they might rather sell than have an unhappy striker in their squad. For the Gunners, it will be difficult to sign a "marquee" signing like Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuain though Arsene Wenger is likely to give it a try.

If they cannot meet the valuation of such strikers in the market, it is possible that Wenger will sign a striker like Defoe who will provide decent value to the squad. However, Wenger should plan to invest on a number of quality players in this summer before the financial fair play regulations come into existence and also it is important that they win trophies in order to generate more revenue in the near future.


Any player who makes the switch from Tottenham to Arsenal or vice-versa is bound to draw a lot of attention and should he not perform well, it is highly likely that he will come under immense scrutiny. Defoe has not been in good form in this season and managed a paltry tally of four league goals in 22 appearances though he was injured for some parts of the season and was not a starter in a number of games.

However, it is clear that he is not in his best form and in all probability, there is no place in the starting eleven for Defoe if he signs for Arsenal. Robin van Persie was in sensational form towards the end of the season and scored 18 league goals despite missing a large chunk of the first half of the season. In the current 4-2-3-1 formation, Van Persie is the favourite to start as the lone striker and has an excellent goals per game ratio as well.

According to the Mirror, Gervinho is set to sign for the Gunners and if signed, he could be accommodated in a striker or a winger role in the starting eleven. If Wenger tinkers the formation and reverts back to the 4-4-2 system, it could mean that Theo Walcott, who has always preferred to play in the centre, might be provided the opportunity to play alongside Van Persie.

The Dutchman and the England International have an excellent understanding and have assisted in goals for both players. Walcott scored 13 goals and assisted 10 more and had his best season in his Arsenal career. He looks to be developing and despite many critics suggesting that he had no footballing brain, he has proved that he can be efficient in the Premiership and will be integral to the Gunners in the near future.

If Jermain Defoe does not get to start matches regularly, then he is bound to be disillusioned at the club which was the problem with Nicklas Bendtner as well. It is important to note that Wenger does want Bendtner to stay at the club but the Dane has been frustrated due to lack of opportunities. Defoe is not likely to displace Van Persie and also, does not prefer playing on the wings which means that he could struggle for playing time.

Also, in the current 4-2-3-1 formation, it is better to have a striker who is decent in the air. Though Van Persie is not excellent in the air, he has presence upfront which is important and employs a style which is suited to his team mates. Chamakh did not have problems with the formation due to his ability to interchange passes with midfielders and bring them into the game.

Defoe is a very different striker to both of them and could struggle as the lone striker because he has not got the presence upfront. He benefits from knockdowns but in Arsenal's style of play, there is hardly anyone who would actually win aerial balls barring Chamakh and it is highly unlikely that the duo will be played together in a 4-4-2 formation.

Also, with Real Madrid linked to both Santos striker Neymar and Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero, there is every possibility that one amongst Gonzalo Higuain or Karim Benzema will leave the club. Arsenal will have a good opportunity to sign a striker of their quality because there are not many clubs in the world who can provide regular Champions League football who are on the lookout for a quality striker and signing any one of the two strikers would certainly show a lot of intent from the club.

It would be a gamble by Arsene Wenger if he does indeed bid for Defoe and chances are that Tottenham are not going to sell to their arch-rivals. However, there are not many clubs who can offer Defoe a chance of European football and also a chance to redeem himself at the highest level. However, with Walcott rapidly improving, it would seem that it is better option to gamble playing him in the centre than spending on Jermain Defoe and if signed, it would mean a lot of unnecessary pressure on the Arsenal manager and the player himself.

If interested, read Arsenal Transfer Prospects: Pros and Cons of signing Peter Odemwingie, Jan Vertonghen, Radamel Falcao, Ricky Alvarez, Scott Parker and Gervinho in this series of Arsenal Transfer Prospects and also, you can follow me on Twitter

No comments: