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Just Say No to Defoe

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West Ham should pass on a return to London for Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League
Defoe should stay in those colors this season.
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Five reasons why signing Jermain Defoe would be a terrible, no good, very bad idea.

West Ham United v Accrington Stanley - EFL Cup Third Round
Because the last striker signing turned out so well.
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

1. Signing a striker is not needed during the transfer window.

While scoring goals is always needed during a Premier League season, and finding proven goal scorers can be a challenge, West Ham already have Andy Carroll and Ashley Fletcher fit, and Diafra Sakho should be back from injury in a few weeks. While West Ham summer signings Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri have been flops, neither of them have been in the side recently when the Hammers have won twice at home. The lesson is, of course, that another striker isn’t a priority right now.

Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League
Look! A right back! Remember when West Ham had one of those?
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

2. West Ham have other needs in the January window.

One of the first things you learn in any economics class or when you first look at doing a budget is that to spend money on one thing means that you don’t spend money on something else. It’s all about choices. And not only money, but time spent on making deals. West Ham need a right back, and they’ve needed one all season. The team is unbalanced without one, forcing Bilic to play the dreaded 3-4-2-1 to cover up for the lack of a fit right back. The team has greater needs this transfer window, and should concentrate on those.

Toronto FC Introduce Jermain Defoe
Ask any Toronto FC fan about Defoe’s time in Canada.
Photo by Jag Gundu/Getty Images

3. Jermain Defoe hasn’t played great for a good team in awhile.

He may have been heroic in Sunderland’s relegation battles over the pat couple of years, but why would Sunderland sell their top striker to West Ham? Do they know something that everyone else doesn’t know? In Defoe’s last season at Spurs, he scored one goal in 14 appearances in 2013-14. The year before in 2012-13, he scored 11 times in 34 appearances. At this point, Defoe looks to be the best option on a bad team. West Ham should be striving for mid-table,not to just avoid relegation. Buying a cast-off from a relegation struggling team is not business that West Ham should be in. Defoe’s very much the wrong side of 30 years old, and continued success at his age is extremely rare. His time in Toronto ended poorly, so maybe last year at Sunderland was a fluke.

Manchester United v West Ham United - EFL Cup Quarter-Final
Shouldn’t Fletcher get the same playing time that Defoe got at West Ham as a young striker?
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

4. Jermain Defoe will hurt the development of Ashley Fletcher.

Ashley Fletcher is an exciting young prospect for the Hammers and Jermaine Defoe will take playing time and responsibility from the young striker. Fletcher may be suited best to come in as a sub or as an starter from time to time, and having Defoe in the team will take away from his appearances. Jermaine Defoe benefitted from playing time when he was young in the first team at West Ham, Ashley Fletcher should be given the same chance.

Liverpool v West Ham United - Premier League
Andy bleeds for West Ham, he doesn’t need any help up front!
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

5. Playing Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe at the same time takes away from other strengths of the team.

If you look at how West Ham is constructed as a team, the team really works best when Andre Ayew, Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, and Michail Antonio are all in the line-up. Playing an additional 2nd striker with Andy Carroll means that at least one of those players is starting on the bench. While Ayew will be out with the African Cup of Nations for a few weeks, it’s not as if he will be gone for the rest of the season. West Ham work best when Carroll is the lone striker up top with four at the back, the same formation that worked against Liverpool. Bringing in someone like Defoe will require a shift in formation that will result in either a return to the awfulness that is three at the back or the benching of one of the critical West Ham players. And if the answer is to bench Defoe, why bother going and getting him in the first place?