Jermain Defoe seals switch to Sunderland from MLS side Toronto FC

Jermain Defoe has signed for Premier League side Sunderland from Toronto FC on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The 32-year-old is a renowned prolific goalscorer and has previously been successful for every club he’s played for with 124 Premier League goals already to his name.

Sunderland will become the sixth team that Defoe has played for in his professional career, having previously been at West Ham United, Bournemouth (on loan), Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth and Toronto FC.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming up here and playing against Sunderland because of the stadium and the supporters. It is a great place to play and I’m really looking forward to it,” Defoe told the Sunderland website.

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Manager Gus Poyet said, “I know all about his attributes and his qualities first-hand and his exceptional goalscoring record speaks for itself. He has something different, something special.”

In his overall career, Defoe has scored an astonishing 245 goals for club and country in 586 appearances.

Jozy Altidore is expected to be heading in the other direction as part of the deal and it seems like only a matter of time until the move is completed.

Altidore’s move to Toronto FC is more complicated than Defoe’s switch to Sunderland due to the implications in place because of the MLS allocation ranking rules.

Is Jermain Defoe the right man for Sunderland?

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Toronto FC agree to swap Jermain Defoe for Jozy Altidore in deal with Sunderland

Toronto FC are making a major change to their strikeforce ahead of the 2015 season by swapping Jermain Defoe for Sunderland and US Men’s National Team striker Jozy Altidore.

The deal has been agreed between both clubs, as reported by TSN‘s Gareth Wheeler, and Toronto will receive Altidore plus allocation money as part of the deal if things go to plan.

However, there is some confusion surrounding the deal regarding Altidore as he can only move to MLS as part of the Allocation Ranking system.

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The 25-year-old is a USMNT player who has played abroad and also played for the New York Red Bulls between 2006-2008 so he should be going through allocation order to decide which club he joins.

However, the league’s rules state “Designated Players of a certain threshold – as determined by the League – are not subject to allocation ranking,” – as was the case with Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley who respectively joined Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC last year.

That could mean that if Altidore joins on a big enough salary, which he will demand, then Toronto may get the player without too many problems.

They currently sit sixth in the allocation order, and would need to trade with Montreal Impact, who are number one, in order to sign Altidore through the system.

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Jermain Defoe’s departure is a lot more straightforward and the Englishman is returning to the Premier League with Sunderland after just 11 months in MLS for a fee believed to be around $11 million.

The deal is being called a swap deal, but in fact it is two separate transactions as Defoe is going to Sunderland, and Altidore is coming to MLS but not certainly with Toronto FC.

The former Spurs striker has reportedly signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Sunderland worth £80,000 per week.

With Defoe gone, Toronto will want the deal to acquire Altidore to be sorted out sooner rather than later, and interest from the Red Bulls will leave some fans concerned they won’t get the USMNT star.

But the Reds are higher than his former club in the allocation order and should therefore be able to get a deal confirmed before the end of the day.

What do you make of the deal to sell Defoe to Sunderland? Will Jozy Altidore be a good fit for Toronto?

Toronto FC lining up sensational swoop for Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco – report

Sebastian Giovinco could be on his way to MLS this summer with Toronto FC ready to offer the Italian the chance for a new challenge overseas, according to a report by Sport Mediaset.

The 27-year-old playmaker is out of contract with Juventus in the summer and is set to move abroad after spending his entire career in Italy so far.

He has only featured six times in the league for the Serie A giants this term and is being tracked by a host of top clubs.

Tottenham, Arsenal and AS Monaco are all believed to be interested in signing Giovinco this summer but Toronto are also involved.

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The Reds are willing to offer Giovinco $3.5 million per year if he chooses to follow in the footsteps of fellow Italians Alessandro Nesta and Marco Di Vaio, who both moved to Canada to play in MLS.

The Canadian-based side are targeting an attacking designated player signing this year and have also been linked with a move for Jozy Altidore, though Jermain Defoe will need to be sold before another star can be brought in.

Giovinco can play on the wings or behind the striker and would be a valuable addition to any side, especially Toronto, and at 27 he has a lot of football in front of him.

The agile Italian has scored 18 goals and picked up 22 assists in 129 games for Juventus.

Would Sebastian Giovinco be a good signing for Toronto FC?

Toronto lower asking price for Jermain Defoe with Spurs return linked

Jermain Defoe could be one step closer to a Premier League return with Tottenham Hotspur less than 12 months after leaving the club for Major League Soccer with Toronto FC.

That’s because the Canadian-based MLS club have reportedly lowered their asking price for the striker to £3 million with a host of Premier League teams interested.

Defoe returned to North London with Spurs this week to train with the club’s development squad in order to stay match fit, and Mauricio Pochettino refused to comment on whether the Toronto star could return to White Hart Lane for a third time.

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“No comment about that. Jermain is a big idol for the supporters, but his situation is clear,” the Spurs managed said ahead of the team’s game against Crystal Palace this weekend.

Defoe scored 137 goals in 352 appearances during his two previous spells at Tottenham before joining Toronto for £6 million last year.

His huge wage demands have meant clubs such as Hull City, Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers have held off making a move for the English forward, though QPR manager Harry Redknapp – who has managed Defoe at West Ham, Portsmouth and Spurs, did make an attempt to sign him in August.

Spurs could afford to bring back the 32-year-old striker in a move that would delight supporters, but Daniel Levy is unlikely to bring Defoe back unless one of the current strikers is sold first.

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Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado have failed to make any sort of impact now, scoring just three Premier League goals between them so far this year. Harry Kane has been the star, netting 17 goals in all competitions but the Lilywhites still need to bolster their attack.

Defoe could remain in MLS but the next three weeks will decide his future as the January transfer window shuts at the end of the month and if he is still a Toronto player then, he will be able to concentrate on at least another season in Canada.

While the Reds are rumoured to be interested in signing Jozy Altidore from Sunderland this month but will need to sell Defoe before any deal could take place as they have three designated player spots filled already.

Would a return to Spurs be a good move for Tottenham and Jermain Defoe?

Hull City join chase for Jermain Defoe as Steve Bruce admits interest

Hull City manager Steve Bruce has admitted that he would be interested in bringing Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe back to the Premier League this month.

The English forward is in high demand as Queens Park Rangers and Leicester are just two other Premier League clubs also believed to be looking at Defoe.

“If he becomes available, which I believe he is, then we’d love to do something,” Bruce said.

“I think it might be too expensive but it’s not a bad bit of speculation.

“There’s always speculation. You ask any club in the bottom of the division about Defoe, all of us would say yes. Whether we can do it financially is another problem,” the Hull manager added.

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Toronto have not ruled out a departure for their star forward, who netted 11 goals in 19 appearances during his debut season in Major League Soccer, but would likely part ways with him if the price was right.

The 32-year-old joined the club from Spurs in a £6 million deal last January and penned a four-year contract worth £68,000 per week which could potentially rise to £90,000 with the Canadian-based MLS club.

That figure will be difficult to match for clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League but the need for goals may see clubs such as Hull and QPR stretch their budget for the former Spurs hero.

Defoe has not said that he wants to leave Toronto and could well start the 2015 season with the club, but he is believed to be interested in a return to England if the offer comes.

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A loan move could still be the best option for all parties, as Defoe would get to play a few games back in the Premier League, offering much needed help to one of the sides interested. And he would be sharp ahead of the new MLS season as a result.

The rumours just won’t go away as far as Defoe’s future is concerned but we can expect to see someone put an offer on the table in the next few weeks.

Would Hull City be a good move for Jermain Defoe? Should he stay with Toronto in MLS?

Doneil Henry closing in on shock West Ham move – report

West Ham United are reportedly close to securing the signing of Canadian defender Doneil Henry from Cypriot side Apollon Limassol, with a work permit the only remaining obstacle.

Henry, 21, has been with Toronto FC for his whole career so far after progressing through their academy but was sold to Apollon Limassol before the start of the 2014 MLS season, despite the deal only being revealed in October, and he hasn’t played a single game for the Cypriot side as of yet.

The powerful centre-back remained in MLS with Toronto for the past season and the Reds were also hoping to negotiate a deal to keep him on loan again in 2015.

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But now Henry is closing in on a dream move to play in Europe with the high-flying Hammers in the Premier League as Sam Allardyce looks to bolster his defence in January.

The 2012 Canadian U20 Player of the Year just needs a work permit to secure a move, and the hearing for that will take place tomorrow, according to TSN’s Luke Wileman.

Henry played with Jermain Defoe for the past season and the former West Ham striker spoke glowingly about the defender’s ability on numerous occasions, and that may have made Sam Allardyce and his team take note.

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The Canadian has been on trial at West Ham twice in the past and Allardyce is believed to be a big admirer, admitting that he feels Henry is “raw, but talented”.

It’s a big move for Henry as many felt he was not good enough to play for the Toronto team at points last season but he could have the chance to prove them wrong with a string of solid performances in the Premier League with West Ham now.

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Doneil Henry should be a West Ham player within the next few weeks so long as he is granted a work permit and it will be intriguing to see how he progresses as a player from now.

Will Doneil Henry be a good signing for West Ham? Is he good enough to play in the Premier League?

Toronto FC “planning on getting Jermain Defoe back” for new MLS season

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.

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“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.

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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?

Should LA Galaxy consider taking Darren Bent to MLS?

Aston Villa forward Darren Bent has a wealth of talent in front of goal and will always find the net, but with a lack of playing time in the Premier League could he be tempted by a move to Major League Soccer?

He has found himself a little out of favour with the Midlands side and is currently spending time with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion on a short-term loan spell.

It could be the right time for Bent to take on a new challenge and MLS could be a great destination for him.

As we know LA Galaxy are still on the hunt for a replacement for Landon Donovan and it could be a great move for both sides if the Galaxy took a gamble on the 30-year-old.

Galaxy star Robbie Keane has played with Bent at both Tottenham and Aston Villa and so the pair could form a solid partnership in MLS if the Englishman were targeted.

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Bent is at a good age for a move stateside and can take many positives from other former Premier League strikers who are now thriving in Major League Soccer.

The likes of Keane and Jermain Defoe have set the league alight and are idolised by their club’s supporters as a result. For any striker this is a perfect scenario, as it boosts confidence to the maximum.

Bent has scored wherever he has played and he netted for current side Brighton just three days after joining on loan.

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MLS would offer him a great opportunity to enjoy his football and find consistent playing time, where he would probably play 90 minutes every game.

He has an impressive strike rate of almost one in two and with an outlet like him, LA Galaxy would find themselves in an even stronger position to challenge on all fronts once again this season.

The experience he can bring to any squad is worthwhile and he could also set a great example to up-and-coming young players.

Would Darren Bent be an MLS success if he were to move stateside?

QPR manager Harry Redknapp flies to Malaysia to discuss Jermain Defoe deal

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp is preparing for what will surely be another active transfer window for the market master as he looks to ensure his side stay in the Premier League.

A move for Jermain Defoe has been touted for some time, and Redknapp flew to Malaysia to discuss details about a possible move for the Toronto FC star with chairman Tony Fernandes yesterday.

Stoke City’s Peter Crouch is also being targeted as Redknapp looks to pair up Defoe and Crouch for the third time in his managerial career, having done so at both Portsmouth and Tottenham in the past.

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Defoe has been very quiet about his future and has refused to rule out staying with Toronto in MLS despite various reports linking him with a move back to the Premier League.

But Redknapp is clearly a huge fan of the 32-year-old’s and will want to sign him as soon as the January transfer window opens in just over a fortnight.

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He must first convince Fernandes that investing in two older players is the right way to go as the QPR chairman will not want to see his side relegated again.

Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe are both players who know the Premier League inside out, but whether or not they can still operate together at the same levels we saw at Spurs is a big question.

Would Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch be good signings for QPR in January?

Former Chelsea star Michael Essien set for MLS move – report

Michael Essien is reportedly nearing a move to Major League Soccer with three clubs interested in bringing the former Chelsea star to MLS before the start of the 2015 season.

Reports from Italian media outlet Tuttosport claim that the AC Milan midfielder is interested in a move to the United States, while MilanNews.it supports these claims by suggesting three MLS clubs are looking at signing the Ghanaian midfield enforcer.

Toronto FC, Columbus Crew and the Portland Timbers have all been linked with a move, and the 31-year-old will more than likely join the league as a Designated Player were he to make the switch.

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Essien’s current contract at AC Milan expires in June next year, but the Italian giants are believed to be willing to offload him in the January window, as they could receive around €3 million for him.

The Timbers currently have three DP’s and therefore look unlikely to add Essien, whereas Columbus have two free DP slots on their roster.

Though it is Toronto who look to be favourites to sign the experienced midfielder as Jermain Defoe is looking likely to move on in the next month or so. That will free up a DP slot and will leave plenty of room for Essien’s salary.

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Interestingly, the player recently changed his representatives to the US-based Clavijo Soccer Agency – a group run by FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo.

The tweet above suggests Toronto are ready to unleash a fearful looking midfield duo of Michael Bradley and Michael Essien on the rest of MLS before the start of next season.

If he joins the league, Essien will certainly be another great capture for Major League Soccer as the quality continues to improve.

Would Michael Essien be a good signing for Toronto?