After a vague reading between the lines of Jermain Defoe’s quotes ahead of the coming season, some quarters of the media are reporting the Sunderland striker is targeting 20 goals for the 2015/16 Premier League.
The 32-year-old told Sky Sports:
“People say you should always aim for 20 goals in a season and if I’m scoring goals it’s only good for the club and the team.”
Not exactly the most conspicuous act of benchmark setting from the Black Cats poacher, but if Defoe is actually is aiming to score a score next term, it’s fair to say his ambitions are little too lofty.
The bwin odds gurus have given the former Tottenham star short shrift with regards to his aspirations for hitting his target for the coming campaign, going just 6/4 that he registers fewer than 9.5 goals as opposed to 1/2 that he bags more.
Conversely, it’s 4/1 he gets at least 20, while just 1/5 saying his tally falls short of the 19.5 mark.
These numbers suggest it’s more likely Defoe scores around half the high watermark he’s hoping to set and they’re right to do so.
For a start, the striker has never, whatever level he has been operating at, scored the amount that, in the player’s words, ‘people say you should always aim for’.
This includes a season with Bournemouth in League One, almost half a campaign with West Ham in the Championship and approximately the same amount of time with Toronto Raptors in the MLS.
He hit four in 14 league outings for Sunderland last term, a rate when converted into full season format means, unless a massive improvement is sparked next time around, he can expect to score around 11.
To do this, he’ll have to start every game and, just like scoring 20 goals in a single season, this is a feat he has never achieved since making his professional debut in 2000; the chances of doing so for the first time in 2015/16 are drastically diminished by his advancing years.
Another massive hindrance to Defoe’s hopes of bagging 20 is the fact that Sunderland are notoriously one of the worst attacking outfits in the top flight.
Their top league goalgetters in 2014/15 were Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham, claiming the mantle after scoring a laughable five apiece.
Fletcher’s haul of 11 in 2012/13 is the only time in the previous four years a Black Cat has hit double digits in the top flight, while Darren Bent’s laudable 24 is the only instance of a player crossing the 20-goal threshold since Kevin Phillips famously did in 1999/00.
All of these factors considered, it’s fair to say Defoe should be aiming a little lower in the goalscoring stakes next term.