As though things couldn’t get any worse for Sunderland fans, it has now been confirmed that Jermain Defoe will leave for nothing when they are relegated.
The player is said to have insisted on the relegation clause so he is guaranteed an exit if the Mackems were relegated, just as Andros Townsend did before agreeing to sign for Newcastle.
The winger couldn’t wait to desert St James Park as soon as relegation was confirmed, agreeing to join even Crystal Palace and Alan Pardew just so he could stay in the Premier League and hopefully catch the England Manager’s eye.
Likewise, Jermain Defoe said in recent days that realistically he will need to be in the Premier League to stand any chance of being in the England squad for the World Cup finals in Russia next summer.
His international appetite will only have been increased many times over with his start and goal against Lithuania.
The Mail have confirmed the existence of the relegation clause and so it will be a case of who Defoe will join this summer, rather than whether or not he will leave a relegated Sunderland.
Last season Jermain Defoe kept Sunderland up with 15 goals in 28 League starts (plus 5 as a sub), then has added 14 goals in another 28 starts this season.
A striker who can score a goal every other game, no matter his age (will turn 35 in October), is sure to interest top flight clubs and Newcastle would be daft not to consider a move if they go up.
If settled in the area, agreeing a year or two extended stay in the north east with Newcastle would surely be of interest to the striker as well. Sunderland fans imploding would only add to the enjoyment of getting a pedigree goalscorer for nothing.
I hadn’t realised just how ridiculously reliant Sunderland have become on the former West Ham and Tottenham striker. He has scored some 60% of their feeble 24 Premier League goals.
The next highest is defender Patrick van Aanholt who left for Crystal Palace and currently injured Victor Anichebe, each with three, nobody else has more than one.
To lose your best player and only goal scorer for nothing, on top of relegation, would be a real body blow to our near neighbours.
Seven points from safety and rock bottom, Sunderland are surely on their way down this time, especially without the usual gift of 4-6 points that has become the norm in recent years from Newcastle.
The future must look pretty bleak as reckless spending in the past has left Sunderland without the ability to be big spenders this season and difficult to see anybody offering £30m for any of their superstars, unlike Newcastle who hit the jackpot with Spurs and Moussa Sissoko, plus to a lesser extent with the likes of Wijnaldum and Janmaat.