In just their second ever top division season Bournemouth finished in the top half of the Premier League, finishing ninth on 46th points, only behind local rivals Southampton on goal difference.
After finishing 16th in their first ever season in the Premier League, the Cherries managed to improve on their position in their second season, despite some questionable transfers last summer. They’ll look to consolidate their position as a top half Premier League team this summer and improve on the transfer front. They may struggle with transfer improvement if a heavily rumoured transfer turns out to be true.
Over the last few days multiple news outlets have reported that Bournemouth have secured the singing of Jermain Defoe. According to the reports, the Cherries have offered Defoe a three-year contract worth £130k a week. If this goes through, it could be another questionable transfer from Bournemouth.
Defoe may be, hypothetically, coming on a “free transfer”, but, if the transfer details are correct, his contract would cost Bournemouth £20m after including the reported £6m signing on fee. That is an abnormal amount of money to pay a player that turns 35 less than six months into his contract. The fact that the contract is three years long makes it even more abnormal.
Putting the money aside, the player Bournemouth would be getting may not be quite as good as advertised. Defoe is known as a player that just gets goals. No matter how old he is, he just knows how to get goals.
On the face of it, that narrative seems to hold true. Only nine players scored more Premier League goals this season than Defoe, despite the Englishman playing for an awful Sunderland side. Yet, a closer look at the numbers make his tally look less impressive.
Defoe scored 15 goals this season, more than half of Sunderland’s 29 goals, but Defoe’s numbers were hugely boosted by goals from the penalty spot. Five of Defoe’s 15 goals came from the penalty spot. While it is good to convert your penalties, penalties should be removed from the total when evaluating a goalscoring season.
On top of the goals from the penalty spot, Defoe played 3322 minutes this season, according to Squawka.com. That by itself is not a bad thing, in fact it’s a positive that a player of his age was fit to play that many minutes. However, playing that many minutes does dilute the goal total a bit.
After factoring in the minutes played and subtracting the penalty goals, Jermain Defoe scored 0.27 non-penalty goals per 90 minutes in 2016/2017 in the Premier League, according to Squawka.com. That’s roughly a non penalty goal once every four matches. There were a host of players last season that had a better goal scoring rate than that, including two Bournemouth strikers in Josh King (0.46) and Benik Afobe (0.36), according to Squawka.com. While it has to be taken into account that Defoe played for a truly terrible Sunderland side, for a player that has the reputation of getting goals, he didn’t actually get them as often as that reputation may lead you to believe last season.
A contract of three years and £130k a week is questionable for any player that is 34 going on 35. Looking at Defoe’s goalscoring exploits this season, it looks even more questionable. Defoe could go on scoring his goals and this reported contract could work out for Bournemouth, but there is every chance this move fails and this contract becomes a weight around the clubs neck until it ends in 2020.