Former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie Redknapp has been singing the praises of Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe in The Daily Mail.
England international Defoe joined the Black Cats from Major League Soccer outfit Toronto FC in the January transfer window.
The 32-year-old has already started to prove his importance for Sunderland, scoring the second goal in the 2-0 victory over Burnley at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League on Saturday.
Redknapp is effusive in his praise of the former Tottenham striker, and believes that he could be the difference between Sunderland staying in the Premier League and going down to the Championship.
“Signing a player in the January transfer window is always a bit of a risk,” the 41-year-old wrote in The Daily Mail. “You never know if they are going to hit the ground running or disrupt your plans.
“When Gus Poyet brought in Jermain Defoe it was as close as you can get to a risk-free deal. If there’s one thing Defoe guarantees, it’s goals - he’s not even fully fit and he already has his first for Sunderland.
“There were a lot of clubs looking at him because everyone knows he is a master finisher. The deal he’s on works out as big money but if his goals help keep Sunderland in the Premier League, there’s no question it will be money well spent.”
Defoe is a proven Premier League player, and knows what it takes to survive and succeed in the English top flight.
Gifted with an eye for goal, the former West Ham United star has strengthened Sunderland’s attack considerably.
Of course, the Englishman will need service from midfield, but he can turn on the style and weave his magic inside the opposition’s penalty box, something that has been missing from Sunderland's attack for much of the season.
Sunderland are currently 14th in the Premier League table with 23 points from as many matches, just four points above third-from-bottom Hull City.
One should not be surprised if Gus Poyet’s side start to pull away from the other relegation candidates in the coming weeks due to Defoe's goals.