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A Case For Signing Emile Heskey? Surely Not...

Emile takes a well earned break.
Emile takes a well earned break.

Sometimes, we at Roker Report talk ourselves into writing articles that just aren't that easy to knock up. I know you wouldn't believe me if I told you that, sometimes, we do actually do research and stuff like proper writers, I mean, you've heard us on the podcast, we don't come across as all that professional, or in fact in anyway professional, but, sometimes that's just how it goes.

So, here I am, writing one of the articles that I've just referred to. It concerns someone who has given football fans all over the country for years nightmares, for one reason or another. So with us in need of a striker and a target man, should we be making a move for Emile Heskey?

I'm weighing up the sizable pro's and con's...

When Martin O'Neill was being discussed as a potential replacement to Steve Bruce for us on the podcast, we joked that the negative side to having him on board would be his burning desire to bring Emile Heskey to our beloved club. Oh how we laughed.

However, now that the Irishman is here, the rumour mill has sparked into life, and, as O'Neill does favour a big man up top, Heksey's name has inevitably been linked with us already, despite his short time in charge.

Now, it doesn't take me, nor anyone else, to tell you that the big man is something of a joke figure in the game. Everyone, at some point, has laughed at him going down easily or making a hash of a seemingly simple chance.

But... We at Roker Report like to take a more balanced approach to things, so it's my job to provide you, lovely readers, not only with reasons as to why we shouldn't touch Emile with the proverbial barge pole, but also as to why he would be a good, yes, good signing.

Reasons For Heskey

1) Martin O'Neill likes to play with a big fella up front.

This we already know. Even our first game of O'Neill's reign saw Connor Wickham, who had only trained once in the week building up to the game, thrown in to the action. It was mentioned on the Football Weekly podcast this week that Sunderland put more crosses into the box on Sunday than any team had in a couple of years in the Premiership. However, we only really have said Wickham that can really play the role of battering ram. Ji doesn't possess the physical prowess to play in the same way that young Connor can, and the same can be said about Ryan Noble. Bendtner, again, doesn't fit the mould.

However, Emile Heskey is the kind of player that can make room for others. In the build up to the World Cup in 2010, potential partners for Wayne Rooney were discussed. Darren Bent and Peter Crouch were mooted, but it was Heskey's workrate alongside the United frontman that was being called for. In 10 games together, then notched an impressive 12 goals, and although 10 of them came from Rooney, the Aston Villa frontman was an integral part of the partnership, making the space and time for his fellow frontman to slot the goals away.

Could he do the same with someone like Sessegnon, or even Bendtner? Our criticism of the Arsenal loanee has been centrered on the fact that he doesn't get into the box enough, but he's frequently been the furthest man forward on the pitch for us, meaning that he's had to hold onto the ball. If Heskey was there to do the donkey work (pun intended), perhaps he would be able to bring others into the game more than we've been seeing so far this term.

2) Wickham is still young

Although, as I said, Mr O'Neill was more than happy to throw Wickham in and use him as the big frontman in his masterplan, we shouldn't forget that he is only still a young man. Thinking back to last season, we all know the impact that playing week-in, week-out had on Jordan Henderson. It's easy to forget that, before his big money move to Merseyside, a lot of us had suggested that he should have been dropped from the first team. With this in mind, another big man is required, and it makes sense that our manager would look at someone who has done well for him in the past.

3) He couldn't possibly cost much

Heskey might be a short-term solution to this particular problem, but that doesn't have to be a particuarly negative thing. At 33, the bigman no longer has youth on his side, but at the same time, would no longer command a large transfer fee. Although he is still, perhaps, considered a first-team player at Aston Villa, a reasonable bid of perhaps £1m might be enough to persuade McLeish to part with his centre forward. With Nathan Delfouneso as a seemingly like-for-like replacement already at the club, I, for one, wouldn't expect the villa boss to cling on to his striker too dearly.

4) He's scored over 100 goals in English football

Yes, I know he's been playing since 1994, and his entire career has been something of an extended statement that he's never fulfilled his potential, but he does have 117 goals in his Premier League career, and that is, to be fair, quite a lot. To put it into context, Michael Owen only has 149, Niall Quinn 141, and £35m striker Andy Carroll? 36.

5) His full name...

Is Emile William IVANHOE Heskey. Which is certainly better than Lee Barry Cattermole.

Reasons Against Heskey

1) This pretty much sums it up...

2) He's not on the famed 'next level' that we crave

Do you remember a few years ago, when we had players like Daryll Murphy, Anthony Stokes and Kevin Kyle up front? No? Don't blame you. I did my best to forget about it too (although Andy Gray plays for Barnsley these days). Well, just look how far we've come since then.

Arguably, Kenwyne Jones started it all when Roy got him in from Southampton. Although he was still young and relatively raw, he was the first of our 'next level' strikers, who would be followed by Djibril Cisse, Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan, and even Danny Welbeck.

However, to go from signing one of the stars of the World Cup at the beginning of last season, to signing Emile Heskey in this one would, undoubtably, annoy one or two of our fans.

3) He's not getting any younger

At 33, it's fair to say that Heskey wouldn't be a long-term solution for us at the Stadium of Light. Could we squeeze one more season out of him? Possibly. Could we sign him in January to tide us over until the summer? Probably. However, it's important to remember that the big man is coming to the end of his career, and he wouldn't provide us with an option for too long.

4) There are similar, better players available

Available is a tricky word to use in these circumstances, especially as the January transfer window has a reputation for inflated prices and extortionate fees. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't other options available. Nathan Delfouneso, mentioned earlier, is a young version of Heskey who has already been touted for a move, while even West Ham's Carlton Cole draws comparisons to the Villa front man. While he may not be a world beater, he does at least have youth on his side.

5) His full name is...

Emile William IVANHOE Heskey.


So, in conclusion, there are, it seems, reasons to consider Sunderland buying Emile Heskey to be a good thing. You may or may not have agreed with my reasons laid out above, that's up to you to decide. You will, obviously, already know that the makers of that video deserve a medal. It's hilarious.

Whatever you think, let me know on the poll. I'll keep it running for a few days, to see what our fans really think of the big man, and whether it would be a terrible thing if he was to turn up at the Stadium of Light.

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