Why Time Might Be Right for Spurs to Sell Defoe, but Pato Isn't the Answer

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

Thursday's media section might have been full of reports on Tottenham's penalty shootout triumph in the Capital One Cup after they defeated Hull City the previous evening, but instead, most of the focus seems to be on a potential turnaround of strikers at the club.

With new signing Roberto Soldado so far relying on penalties to boost his otherwise-meagre goal return, Jermain Defoe has had a few opportunities to shine. In the Europa League he has netted six times from four games, but his lack of starts in the Premier League means he is without a goal there this season.

As such, Darren Lewis at the Daily Mirror believes former team-mate Ryan Nelsen, now head coach at Toronto FC in the MLS, has put together an offer to take Defoe across the Atlantic in January.

In turn, David Kent of the Daily Mail reports that Spurs made an attempt to sign Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato during the summer, and that he remains a target for Andre Villas-Boas.

While Defoe might well concede his time is up at White Hart Lane, Pato is not the way for Spurs to go if they want to boost their forward options.


Defoe vs. Soldado

A big-money signing during the summer, Soldado was always likely to be the manager's preferred starter and it is no surprise to see Defoe out of the picture—though not as out of it as Emmanuel Adebayor, of course.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27:  Roberto Soldado of Spurs celebrates scoring their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City at White Hart Lane on October 27, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finne
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Soldado has netted four times since the start of the season but only once from open play with three penalties boosting his tally.

Defoe has had to make do with just one start and a total of 169 Premier League minutes so far this season, not enough for him to stake a realistic claim for a place and certainly not enough to determine if he suits Villas-Boas' system enough to be the regular No. 9.


MLS Ahead of a World Cup?

Defoe might be tempted by a move with regular football and a generous contract offer, but moving to the MLS just six months before the 2014 FIFA World Cup would not likely have a hugely positive effect on his chances of going with England.

Defoe vs. Nelsen when the striker was at Portsmouth, the defender at Blackburn
Defoe vs. Nelsen when the striker was at Portsmouth, the defender at BlackburnRichard Heathcote/Getty Images

Then again, nor will sitting on Spurs' bench all season.

Defoe needs, ideally, another Premier League team to take him—even on loan for the rest of the season, before heading to meet up with Nelsen next summer—and play him if he is to have a chance of leading he line for his country.

Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck seem almost certain to go, being in favour with Roy Hodgson, which might leave Defoe battling the likes of Rickie Lambert or Andy Carroll for a final spot.


Why Pato Isn't the Answer

As for Spurs, if both Adebayor and Defoe depart, they will be left with youngster Harry Kane as Soldado's only cover.

An experienced forward would be no bad thing to bring in, but Pato's form over the past year does not indicate that it should be him.

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 10: Alexandre Pato #9 of Brazil traps the ball in front of Miguel Veloso #4 of Portugal in the second half during the international friendly match at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

B/R's Brazil expert Chris Atkins relayed privately that while Pato had endured no major injuries of late while playing for Corinthians and remaining in and around the Brazil national team squad, he was far from showing his best form.

A lack of first touch, not holding the ball up well and perhaps a lack of overall fitness—he has played the full 90 minutes just three times since June for Corinthians—means that, right now, he is nowhere near the superstar that he once threatened to be.

Pato should better prove himself in Brazil before he returns to Europe. I think he's capable of it, but he needs to find a new club for now.

— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) October 28, 2013

Spurs will likely have money to spend in January and a forward could well be, once again, top of their list of priorities, but they should be looking in other directions for that new recruit.


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