Jermain Defoe should have been subject to interest from clubs in the Premier League top six, including Arsenal and Manchester United, during the summer transfer window prior to joining AFC Bournemouth, according to ex-England and Tottenham Hotspur manager Glenn Hoddle. The 34-year-old was eligible for a free in the summer after relegation with Sunderland and opted to return to the south coast where he plied his trade during his teenage years.
Despite being part of the Black Cats side which was relegated from the Premier League with a whimper, Defoe netted 15 times in the top flight – with Harry Kane the only English forward to score more – a run of form which saw him recalled to the England squad. Upon his return in March he became the sixth oldest goalscorer in his country's history against Lithuania and is a contender to go to the World Cup next year.
Defoe's second coming at Bournemouth had started slowly due to a lack of match fitness but after starting the defeats to Manchester City and Arsenal, he opened his account for the season by firing the winner against Brighton and Hove Albion to secure the Cherries' first win of the new term. And according to Hoddle, the goal highlights how the likes of United should have moved for Defoe in the summer.
"You know if you give him one chance [he's going to score]," he told BT Sport. "I am so surprised one of the top six teams in this country haven't taken him and got him back in. Give him chances and he'll put the ball in the net.
"Some people they run out of steam at 33. This fella keeps himself fit and he only needs one chance in a game. If he was at United or Arsenal or something and he's coming on for a half hour every game, he would get four or five chances."
Prior to moving to the Vitality Stadium, former club West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Everton were all linked with a move for Defoe, but the pull of a return to the south coast proved too big an opportunity to turn down.
While Defoe was available on a free – though he agreed a £19.5m contract worth £130,000-a-week to move to Bournemouth – both Arsenal and United splashed the cash to bring in big-money, marquee signings in during the off-season.
United eventually beat Chelsea to the signing of Romelu Lukaku from Everton in a deal worth an initial £75m, while the Gunners lured Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon despite not qualifying for the Champions League. Meanwhile, both clubs kept hold of the likes of Anthony Martial and Olivier Giroud, to nullify their need for additional firepower.