Three good reasons why Portsmouth will not be joining League One rivals Sunderland, Ipswich Oxford and Charlton in battle for Jermain Defoe

Former Pompey striker Jermain Defoe is currently weighing up his options as he chooses the next stop in a career that’s in it’s 23rd year.

By Mark McMahon
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 1:36 pm

League One Sunderland, Oxford, Ipswich and Charlton are all believed to be at the front of the queue for the 39-year-old’s services – all vying to make the most of the free agent’s status after his departure from Rangers earlier this month.

All desperate to land the former England international who guarantees goals wherever he goes.

Indeed, the former West Ham trainee had bagged 304 in the subsequent 583 senior appearances he’s made following his Hammers debut in September 2000.

So it’s no wonder he’s still attracting interest 10 months short of his 40th birthday.

Pompey have been on the lookout for a new front man this month as Danny Cowley bids to freshen up his attacking department.

This week saw the Blues swoop to land 25-year-old Tyler Walker on loan from Coventry until the end of the season.

By the way, Fratton Park new-boy’s dad, former Three Lions centre-back, Des, played against Defoe for Nottingham Forest back in 2003.

Jermain Defoe is currently a free agent after leaving Rangers

However, there’s been no suggestion that Defoe – who scored 17 goals in 36 games for Pompey from 2008-09 – was or is on the radar.

Some fans might ask: why not?

After all, four of the Blues’ League One rivals are supposedly keen. Four clubs that will have promotion aspirations either this year or next.

However, according to our chief sports writer Neil Allen, there’s three very good reasons why Pompey haven’t ventured down this particular route.

‘Firstly, Pompey couldn't afford him,’ said Allen, when asked about Defoe and the Blues in his Q&A this week.

‘Secondly, he wouldn’t want to come back to Fratton Park.

‘And, thirdly, some of us have very long memories about how he couldn’t be bothered to play for Pompey at the end (of his time here).

‘He had a nasty cold and made himself unavailable to play in the FA Cup.

‘There was his awful performance at West Brom where he couldn’t be bothered, the penalty miss against West Ham and it was a horrible way how he left the club.

‘He had no respect for the football club, he's a good player but there’s no chance of him coming back.

‘He wouldn’t come here anyway, it’s not going to happen.

‘He showed Pompey and continued to show Pompey complete disrespect, so we don’t want players like that here.’

Allen’s latter point will remain long in the memory of many Blues fans, with Defoe handing in a transfer request on January 31, 2008 – less than a year after his reported £7.5m move from Spurs.

Three days later, the forward ruled himself out of Pompey’s FA Cup fixture against Bristol City – their first game in the competition since winning the trophy against Cardiff eight months previous.

But despite falling ill, he still managed to walk around White Hart Lane, welcoming the adulation of Spurs supporters, the following Tuesday night as his move back to north London was agreed.

Just week’s prior to that, his lack of effort and the histrionics on show in the 1-1 draw at West Brom spelt the beginning of end of his Fratton Park career.

Meanwhile, Defoe’s missed penalty at home to West Ham on Boxing Day 2008 and his subsequent substitution on 73 minute following another unenthusiastic display was not only met by boos from Hammers fans in the away end but heckles also the Fratton faithful.

Wherever Defoe ends up this month, any potential PO4 return in new opposition colours will be interesting to say the least.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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