Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe has been lined up for a move back to England since last summer with reports of a move to QPR consistently talked about. And although his future is not fully cleared, Toronto are planning to have him back.
Having only featured in three of Toronto’s last sixteen games, his Toronto career and Canadian stay looked certain to end as quickly as it began.
But on Thursday Toronto General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko said he expects Defoe to remain in MLS for the 2015 season.
“We’re planning on getting Jermain back,” Bezbatchenko told reporters whilst giving a speech outing the team’s vision for the future.
“He logs into his account on Sports Office [an online player-management system with a daily line of communication with the coaching staff] and just a couple days ago, he started running on the field.
“If someone comes and there’s an offer, we’ll consider it. We’re planning to have him on our team but we have contingencies, and if he happens not to be here, we have a plan.”
The former Tottenham Hotspur striker moved to Toronto and linked up with former teammate Ryan Nelsen in January 2014 but since Nelsen’s dismissal as head coach, Defoe has struggled for game time despite his impressive goal record of 11 goals in 19 games. Injuries were largely to blame but talks about his future didn’t help.
Toronto FC President Tim Leiweke was even quoted in September as saying “If you don’t want to be here, get the hell out of our way”.
With Defoe’s reported wage of £90,000 a week, the clubs being linked with him may struggle to pay such demands.
Defoe has been linked with moves to Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers, and he also seems to be attracting the attentions of Newcastle United. Current QPR manager, Harry Redknapp, who managed Defoe at Portsmouth and at Tottenham is known to be a huge admirer having signed him twice and he is keen to add him to the ranks at Loftus Road.
Toronto head coach Greg Vanney hinted that the club will consider all the options for Jermain Defoe in January with the expectation that he will stick in MLS for a second season.
A loan move to the Premier League is an option during the offseason but a return in time for the new season in March would provide Toronto with an enormous boost.
Do you think Jermain Defoe will remain in Toronto or will he return to the Premier League?