Defoe exit exciting prospective bidders for his service
With relegation confirmed at Sunderland, Premier League clubs are literally lining up to stake a claim for luring Jermain Defoe from the Stadium of Light this summer.
After all, it's not often you get the chance to land for free an England international with consistent double-figures in the top flight scoring charts who will be desperate to perform next season in order to claim a spot at the 2018 World Cup.
So the unseemly 'me me me' clamour from a host of clubs in recent days to attract the attention of Jermain Defoe is perhaps understandable.
With David Moyes more-or-less confirming that the 34-year-old will be free to leave the Stadium of Light at the end of the season, West Brom and Crystal Palace are the latest to have thrown their hat in the ring today to declare an interest in securing Defoe's services next season.
In his press conference this morning, the Sunderland boss had this to say on Defoe's future when quizzed on potential exits from the Stadium of Light:
We can only lose the ones who are out of contract....Jermain Defoe has a clause in his contract so that's possible.
With headlines abounding about a 'summer exodus' from relegated Sunderland, Moyes is of course correct to point out the bulk of his team are under contract with just eight deals ending and three loanees to return to their parent clubs - not an unusual figure for any club in any season. But they literally are now queuing up to leave.
On the prospect of landing Defoe for the Baggies, Tony Pulis was suitably vague this morning but appeared to suggest he might fancy landing the striker:
When you say he's a free agent, effectively he's a free agent, but that still brings an enormous cost to whichever club takes Jermain. We've got our fingers in the pie on quite a few players and we'll see how we go on those players. If Jermain's one of them, we'll be pushing on that one if we can.
Defoe is understood to be demanding a three-year deal from any prospective new employer with a salary of £80,000 per week to match his present Sunderland remuneration.
Naturally, Sam Allardyce swiftly followed suit when he spoke with the media this afternoon.
After all, Big Sam is the manager who credited himself with transforming Defoe into a lone front-man when he literally ran out of all other striking options at Sunderland:
If we are safe and Jermain Defoe is available and he wants to come to Crystal Palace, I would be interested.
Whilst Jermain Defoe is a proven goalscorer and will likely do a job for any team in the top-tier, his age and associated salary and contract demands - which will take him up to the age of 37 - still present him as a risky purchase for any new employer.
The end of his superb Sunderland spell is indeed a tragedy however.
Djilobodji plots a Premier League escape
Astonishingly, considering his first season at Sunderland, centre-half Papy Djilobodji is plotting an escape from the Stadium of Light and believes a top-tier English club will offer him another chance in the Premier League.
That is, according to an interview the Senegalese defender has given to PressAfrik.
In it the 27-year-old, who had previously played 59 seconds in English football before moving to Sunderland from Chelsea last summer, suggests he has representatives aiming to engineer him an exit from the Stadium of Light:
I'd like to stay in the Premier League. The people who look after this stuff are working on it properly. For now, we are planning to finish the season even if we are relegated. We must respect the supporters and all the employees of the club. At the end of the season, I will go on holiday to stay with my family. From there, we will think about our future. But, let's not forget that I'm also under contract with Sunderland.
Djilobodji has played 18 games for the Black Cats this season but has not started a match since the 27th of January and most observers would agree they can count on one hand the amount of 'good' performances he has put in.
After a dire start to the Premier League season in which he could not put a foot right, Djilobodji had a run of a few games around December-time in which he looked like he could perform at the heart of Sunderland's defence before it all went wrong again.
The centre-back has now not featured since he picked up a four-game ban for violent conduct against West Brom and has spent the last few months on the sidelines unable to force himself back into David Moyes' reckoning.
On gaining a relegation to his CV, Djilobodji said:
Of course I'll get up. I'm not the type to let go when it's difficult. I am an athlete and I never resist fighting. I am not weak. Those who know me know that I am mentally strong. I know how to give the best of myself.
So if he knows how, would it not have been an idea to have shown us this best of himself by now?
And Steven Pienaar?
Steven Pienaar - could he do a job in the Championship? It's not something that any of us can be bothered to debate, but the 35-year-old has told Sky Sports he reckons he can manage another season in English football:
I think I’ve still a got year in me but all of the injuries that I’ve had over the last two years, I don’t think my body can take much more.
Neither can we Steven. Thanks all the same.
But the South African has defended David Moyes as the Sunderland boss continues to take all of the flack for the pathetic teams he has put out this season:
We’ve let so many people down, the club, the supporters, people that support you. It’s been a dark few weeks, we’ve let the manager down, he’s getting all of the blame for it.
He’s making the decisions but as players, we’re the ones going out onto the field and we have to get a result. For him, it is a big disappointment but he is a fighter and he’ll come through it.
Credit to Steven Pienaar for at least holding his hands up on behalf of himself and his dismal teammates.