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Jermain Defoe - Sunderland's Risk-Free Steal Of The Century

Forget talk of risk with Jermain Defoe - that's a part of any transfer deal. The potential rewards compared to them are almost embarrassingly enormous.

Jag Gundu/Getty Images

Football and the Internet were always a match made in heaven. One provokes opinions with impassioned and vast variety, the other provides a free platform upon which they can be shared and endlessly debated.

It really doesn't matter if you've got a social media account, a message board membership, an amateur blog or call journalism your profession, your opinion can always find a home if it wants one.

Since it became clear that Sunderland were swapping Jozy Altidore for Jermain Defoe, it has sparked discussions far further afield than Wearside. Everyone has their own take on it, and even seeking the views of rival Premier League bosses on the subject was a regular feature at pre-game press conferences up and down the country this week.

There seems to be a myriad of little sub-arguments in that: Will Defoe fit Gus Poyet's system? Is he too far past his best to justify the cost? Is he still motivated? Does he need a strike partner?

There is no shortage of misinformation out there too. Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert confidently declared to the assorted press that he wouldn't have paid Defoe an £80k p/w wage, for example. Cheers Paul, but it's not strictly relevant to the discussion since Sunderland aren't either.

The same can be said of the 'reported' - and for that read 'misinterpreted' - £14million transfer fee. Put as big or small a number you want on it, but the fee is Jozy Altidore.

That, for me, is the crux of the matter. Sunderland are swapping a player with practically no value to them for one who potentially could.

There will come a time for a more reflective debate on Jozy Altidore's Sunderland spell, probably when he's starring in the MLS soon, but for now you can't say he's ever justified his presence on Wearside.

He's been a trier and fair play to him in that regard. He has never hidden during his struggles, though they had started to visibly take their toll I think.

However, let's be brutally honest about this. Defoe may not be the player he was at his peak, but he doesn't need to be to make this a hell of a deal. From the second he scores his first goal for Sunderland, he has justified any risk involved. From the moment his second goal hits the back of the net, he has justified his arrival by surpassing his predecessor.

We can analyse possible formations and agonise over exact figures we'll never know and probably won't ever be asked to subsidise all we want, but this is a risk-free high-reward deal. The very worst case scenario is we have a non-scoring striker struggling to contribute - the exact same situation we'd have been in with Altidore anyway.

On the other hand, Sunderland could just have added a genuine goal threat to their side; a player who can score out of nothing and turn a couple more of those many draws into wins. Given Jermain Defoe's previous record, you'd have to say that looks considerably more likely.

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