The end of a Fantasy League Legend

By: Matt Sims 11th March 2019


The January transfer window has seen the departure of two Fantasy League legends, namely Jermain Defoe and Cesc Fabregas, with any future return to the English top-flight seeming unlikely.



Both were the all-time top points scoring players in their respective positions who were still active in the Premier League before Defoe left Bournemouth to join Steven Gerrard’s Rangers on loan and Fabregas teamed up with former team-mate Thierry Henry at Monaco.

Both have been restricted to the odd substitute appearance for their respective Premier League sides so far this season, prompting moves elsewhere in search for regular first-team football.

Jermain Defoe

Defoe signed for West Ham as a raw 16 year-old in 1999, but hit the headlines when scoring in 10 consecutive matches whilst on loan at second division Bournemouth during the 2000/1 season.

That escalated him to the West Ham first team under Harry Redknapp and was top scorer for the Hammers in his first season, registering 10 goals and two assists for 34 points in 2001/2.

Eight goals and seven assists followed in the 2002/3, but Defoe was now being approached by so-called “bigger” clubs and was lured to Tottenham during the January transfer window in 2004.

Four similarly successful years at Tottenham followed, albeit being rotated with the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Mido, before transferring to Portsmouth in January 2008.

However, he lasted just one year at Pompey before being lured back to Tottenham in 2009, now managed by his former mentor Redknapp.

It was during this spell that he achieved his best season tally of 64 points with 18 goals and five assists in the 2009/10 season.

However, the signing of Roberto Soldado in the summer of 2013 demoted him to substitute once again and in January 2014 decided to try his luck in the MLS with Toronto.

His stay in Canada lasted just 12 months before returning to England with Sunderland in January 2015, scoring 34 goals and registering six assists across two and a half seasons.

It was at Sunderland that he found a fond friendship with Bradley Lowery, a young boy suffering from a rare form of cancer, which touched the hearts of the nation. Together with his other work for the Jermain Defoe Foundation, he was awarded a OBE.

After Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2016/17 season, Defoe linked up with Bournemouth again.

However, with stiff competition for places at Bournemouth, he was restricted to just 11 starts in the 2017/18 campaign, scoring four goals and assisting twice for 16 Fantasy League points.

After failing to secure a single Premier League start during the first half of the 2018/19 season, Defoe sought a new challenge north of the border in the form of a loan to Rangers…

Defoe’s total of 587 points across 17 seasons makes him the eighth highest scoring Fantasy League striker of all-time (behind Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole, Thierry Henry, Teddy Sheringham, Les Ferdinand and Robbie Fowler).

Only four players in other positions have also scored more Fantasy League points than Defoe, with his new manager Steven Gerrard being one of them - others being Frank Lampard, Ryan Giggs and John Terry.

Defoe is now 36 years old, so even when his loan expires at the end of the season, it is unlikely that Bournemouth – or any other Premier League club, for that matter – will take a chance on such an aging asset.

Jermain Defoe's Fantasy League career in numbers:

Season Club(s) Played Goals Assists Points
2001/02WH1710234
2002/03WH308738
2003/04WH/TOT157021
2004/05TOT2813243
2005/06TOT239741
2006/07TOT2010234
2007/08POR1612342
2008/09POR/TOT2311441
2009/10TOT3218564
2010/11TOT174216
2011/12TOT1311339
2012/13TOT2611543
2013/14TOT3103
2014/15SUN174114
2015/16SUN2815147
2016/17SUN3715351
2017/18BOU114216
Total35616349587

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