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.

  • Albert Stubbins

    why would we want a makem cult hero? How would we feel if Shearer had jumped ship to sunderland if we’d have managed to get relegated when he played? Yes, Paul,Bracewell was a good player but he went back to them as a coach in later years so soured the memories for me. For goodness sakes he scored the winner against us a few years ago and celebrated it like a mad man. Yes we all know there are no morals in football these days and that deep down players don’t give a monkeys about the club or its supporters but lets pretend that they do when it comes to rival club alliegences at least to a small extent- otherwise what have we got left to get excited about anymore?

    • SH.ER

      I am sick of the Newcastle fans hyping him up to join us
      My god ,,, do they realize Benitez play with 1 upfront
      We have what we need , Gayle & Mitrovic
      and HOW COULD THEY ? forget that wonder goal he scored against us ?
      Just good luck to him AWAY from us ….

      • Leazesl Ender

        …..’We have what we need , Gayle & Mitrovic ?’

        What…. for the Premiership?

        • SH.ER

          Gayle has showed that if you offer him good “goal scoring opportunities” he will score them ..

          • Martin

            But Mitrovic hasn’t. We NEED a striker that scores goals next season to help take burden off Gayle.

          • SH.ER

            So you’re saying we should give up on Mitrovic while he is 22 ?
            & maybe sign Defoe who is 34 ? that would be good ? right

          • Martin

            Not saying that at all. My reply was in reference to the fact Gayle and Mitrovic alone will not score enough goals to keep us up next season. We need to bring in another striker. Defoe will go West Ham or Spurs.

          • SH.ER

            I think we have to see how things work out first
            some people really think we will throw another £80m like we did last season , but remember we don’t have the Premier League money people … !!!
            If the club said we are signing Lacazette you think i wouldn’t be thrilled with that ?
            Newcastle have to take a big step towards this area
            but right now ? we don’t have the resources to do it
            we have to see how Gayle , Mitro & Perez will do with Benitez in full EPL season not just 10 games
            I’d rather if we really fix our broken midfield line with the money we have …

          • Martin

            I’m a realist. I know we aren’t going to spend £100m which is what we’d need to get back into Top 8. But I think we could do some good business for around £50m in the summer. We for sure need to address our weaknesses but a striker that scores goals is massively important if you want to stay up. Look how it cost us when we were relegated.
            I believe Gayle can do well next season but Mitrovic (who I really do like btw) has shown he won’t be a 20 goal a season striker. A forward like him should be dominating CB’s like Shearer and Carroll but he rarely scores with his head and he’s so slow that I believe even Shearer now could beat him in a race.
            We need a LB, CM, AML, AMC and a striker. And that’s just to make sure we aren’t in a relegation battle.

          • Damon Horner

            so as a realist you’d understand we can’t really afford to buy 5 safe first team players who will be an upgrade on what we have therefore we’ll be in a relegation battle?

          • Toonrobbybobson

            A dose of reality here. ‘IF’ we get promoted then next season staying up is a success!

            On the another note Ritchie Gayle and Shelvey are all premoer league players who cost sub £15 million. I trust Rafa to be incredibly shrewd with his dealings as he was last summer. Some players such as Lazaar will get better as the adjust to the English game and ways. Yedlin is more than capable of playong on the Prem.

            The current squad under Rafa is capable of keeping us up in prem. However id expect with some good business and thats not just splashing money all over he would have us top 12.

            Oh and you can keep your Bentekes for £30 million. No thanks.

          • Damon Horner

            In truth mine was a continuation of the previous scenario and I never mentioned Benteke at all!
            Personally if we go up (right to emphasise “if” but would never hold against those optimistic) then personally we should be looking at 3, £20mil players with obvious quality than 6, £10mil with possible quality.
            We have sufficient strength and good numbers, we would just need to raise the bar more with our signings’ quality.

          • Toonrobbybobson

            Apologies Damon think I was refering to Benteke in a general other comment elsewhere.

            I whole heartedly agree. For instance id take anyones hand off for someone like Sigurdson around that price. Proven and fills a gapping void in our squad ability. Lets not forget we can probably move on the likes of De Jong for a couple of bob now after his successful PSV stint. I cant see Krul staying either so it should help facilitate one move. Then there is the likes of Gouffran whose legs have gone for that level and debatable if he was that level.

            Good no. 10 and the left side would be my biggest priorities. I think Rafa was seriously shrewd securing the likes of Yedlin, Ritchie and Gayle as they can handle the prem from last season I actually think he raised the balance and quality in our squad and another summer he will do so again.

            Id love to see Gayle do well given his chance in Prem he was unfairly handled at Palace.

          • Geordiegiants

            £50m won’t touch the sides, when the likes of Benteke are £30m+.

          • Geordiegiants

            Yes I am! are you saying you wouldn’t swap Mitro for zlatan? Mitro is a proven DONKEY, Age is of no concern at all.

    • Jezza

      Colback also scored against us for Sunderland and celebrated wildly. Mind you I wish we hadn’t signed him purely for footballing reasons.

  • MadMag83

    Hardly surprising to be honest, but is it relegation release fee or a free transfer? What exactly is his clause? Because Townsend didn’t leave for free.

  • TheNutJob

    Slated for West Ham

  • Mal

    If correct someone has slipped up in allowing a free transfer if relegated. Having said that they didn’t pay a lot for him, though apparently they turned down £6 million for him in January. Still a top striker but, if they are relegated, I suspect he’ll be off to one of the more established PL teams and I doubt Rafa would be interested anyway should we make it. He’s got to give Gayle his (deserved) chance to establish himself I would have thought.

    • Andy Mac

      You can never have too many strikers. Gayle, possibly Mitro and maybe Arma wont be enough for the PL campaign if we get there !

      • Mal

        I agree. I just don’t see him coming to us though there’s a lot still to play for before it even becomes a possibility. I suspect Rafa will be looking to move Mitro on anyway so, should we manage to get promoted, I’m sure we’ll be in the market for at least 1 striker.

  • si

    if he is a free he will have his pick. he could do a job similar to Larsson or sheringham at man utd. the guy is made of goals and they are priceless in the premiership. I would have him in a heartbeat

    • bobbi fleckman

      He’ll have his pick and has a season left in him. For the former reason, there is no need for him to choose Newcastle, far more likely to see him team up with a former manager on the outskirts of London, he will not want to upset Sunderland fans by coming to us.

  • Paul Patterson

    Get him signed up as soon as the unwashed are confirmed as relegated.

  • Jimblag23

    I don’t think Defoe would do that to the Sunderland fans that love him tbh.

  • Blackburn1066

    Your aiming low again NOT GOING TO HAPPEN BOYS AND GIRLS

  • Cuh736

    If we sign Defoe, then something is definitely wrong.

    Besides, Gayle and Defoe? What are we trying to build the shortest strike partnership?

    • Vodkamagpie

      Easy solution if we sign defoe, we sell gayle for 20Mil

  • Wor Lass

    “The winger couldn’t wait to desert St James Park as soon as relegation was confirmed…” I seem to remember a certain period of agonising which I, for one, accept as being geniune. It wasn`t immediate anyway, Graham. We`ve enough fake news sloshing around nowadays without the Mag joining in.

  • Jezza

    Pointless article. Sunderland are not relegated yet. They could still pull off yet another “great escape”. We are not promoted yet either. If Defoe leaves Sunderland he will be going back to London and most likely West Ham.

  • Mrkgw

    Worthy of consideration but I very much doubt that we will sign him. More chance of a younger striker being brought in.

  • Toontone100

    If we are not interested we should be – he’s incredibly effective … but it wont happen

  • F Gonial

    We should have gotten him when he returned from America, but that was down to Ashley. He has been one of the most effective players in the premiership. Would love to see him at Newcastle.