It has today claimed that Sunderland are in talks with Tottenham Hotspur over the signing of Jermaine Jenas, although are unsure whether the deal would be a permanent arrangement or yet another loan for the out of favour midfielder.
The story was widely rumoured last week with Danny Rose also expected to make the move up north on a season long loan but talk soon quelled as the arrivals of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson dominated headlines.
Ask Spurs fans to describe Jenas in one word and a large chunk will give you the same response; Inconsistent. However having been with the club since 2005, Jenas is actually one of the longest serving Spurs players in the current set-up, suggesting that many managers have seen the ability that the midfielder possesses.
Starting his career at Nottingham Forest, Jenas’ talent was instantly recognisable and it prompted the late Sir Bobby Robson to part with £5 million to bring Jenas to Newcastle United. At just 19 years of age the player began to force his way into first team reckoning at St James’ Park with some exciting and energetic performances which were soon grabbing the attention of the nation and then England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Jenas’ time at Newcastle ended bitterly with the youngster describing playing for Newcastle as living 'in a goldfish bowl', as he became disillusioned with the North East. A £7 million move followed to current club Tottenham Hotspur, where he has dropped in and out of the first team, seeing less game time over the last two seasons in particular.
Whilst he will be remembered fondly by Spurs fans for key goals against arch-rivals Arsenal, mistakes have littered his career and perhaps unfairly labelled the player as average.
Last season Jenas had a spell on loan at Aston Villa, with the move expected to revive his career and increase his playing opportunities but injury hampered his season and he returned to Spurs arguably in a deeper lull than he’d left in.
The departure of Redknapp however offered new hope to the fringe players around Spurs and the likes of David Bentley, Sebastien Bassong and Jenas were given a fair crack of the whip to prove they deserved another chance. Ultimately all three were largely unimpressive and with Bassong already out the door, the other two appear to be set to follow.
This brings us to the link to Sunderland. As many who have followed Martin O’Neill’s managerial career will know, the Irishman is a supporter of the counter attack, a system based around high energy players that are able to soak up pressure, then push forward with pace when opposition moves break down. Playing in a side adapting these tactics, Jenas could be a valuable asset to the club.
Sunderland’s favoured formation is the traditional 4-4-2 over the currently more popular 4-3-3/4-5-1 and as a result Jenas would be battling it out for one of two central midfield spots alongside Jack Colback, Lee Cattermole, Craig Gardner, David Vaughan and David Meyler. All five of these are good players capable of performing consistently well but the addition of Jenas could add just a little more dynamism and that word again, energy as competition.
Unlike many former Toon Army players, the way that Jenas left the Magpies may also stand the player in good stead with the fans, following his two fingers up comments in the wake of his departure towards Newcastle.
If the story does have legs and Jenas signs for the Mackems, he will become yet another to make the move from the White half of North London to Wearside, following Teemu Tainio, Steed Malbranque, Darren Bent and more recently, Louis Saha. Sunderland play Swansea on Saturday and the game could prove to be Jenas’ debut for the club as he hopes to do what he failed to do last season at Villa Park and kickstart his Premier League career once again.
For Spurs it would be yet a further signal that they are finally set to dip into the market for multiple midfield reinforcements following yesterday’s long awaited completion of Luka Modric’s transfer saga and Tom Huddlestone’s loan switch to Stoke expected to be announced over the coming days.
Spurs and Sunderland fans, what do you think of the prospective transfer?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald