Eddie Howe has revealed he wanted Jermain Defoe back at Bournemouth in the summer, but couldn’t prise him from current club Sunderland.
Howe played alongside Defoe in 2001/01 when the latter was on loan at Dean Court from West Ham United, during a spell in which he scored 18 goals in 29 appearances in the old Division Two. The striker then broke into the first team at the Hammers, before having three spells at Tottenham Hotspur, two at Portsmouth, and one in the MLS with Toronto FC.
Defoe left the Canadian club for Sunderland 12 months ago, and after his four goals in 17 appearances helped them avoid relegation from the Premier League, he is again playing a starring role this term with nine in 17. Howe has now revealed he wanted to sign the 33-year-old when the Cherries secured promotion to the top-flight, but didn’t get very far.
“No, it was never close unfortunately,” said Howe of the England international. “He’s a great lad, he lives for scoring goals, that’s what he wants to do and he’s still managing to do it at the very highest level. He’s a player I admire greatly as you can tell but Sunderland are in a similar position to ourselves so there’s no way they would want to lose him.”
Howe takes his Bournemouth side to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon, when they will try and nullify the threat of Defoe. Whilst the Cherries boss would love to have been able to count upon the Black Cats striker this season, he has at least had fortune in the January window where he has been able to add both Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban to his options.
“It would be very difficult for any of our players to sit down and analyse Jermain Defoe, and neither should they really, because they want to be themselves,” Howe added. “It’s quite unique how he finishes, he takes the ball very early, so I think it’s very difficult to copy that. But we believe in the players we have here that they have enough to score goals at this level.”