Toronto FC have completed a huge move to bring Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe to Major League Soccer in a deal that takes effect on Feb. 28.
The official Tottenham Hotspur Twitter account announced the news on Friday morning:
We have reached agreement with Toronto FC for the transfer of Jermain Defoe to the MLS side, with effect from February 28, 2014— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 10, 2014
Jermain Defoe moves to MLS - Toronto FC pic.twitter.com/JNVLIUqlpq— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 10, 2014
BBC Sport provide financial details of the deal:
The former West Ham man has agreed a four-year deal, worth £68,000 per week, potentially rising to £90,000.
Sporting KC broadcaster Callum Williams reported on Friday, Jan. 31 that QPR made a run at Defoe as well:
Sky Sports reporting that QPR made late bid to take Toronto FC bound Jermain Defoe on a 28 day loan deal before moving to #MLS— Callum Williams (@CalWilliamsSKC) January 31, 2014
Spurs' official website provided Defoe's views on his move:
Everybody knows how much this club means to me and I will play my heart out for the team and the fans until my last kick for the club. I have had a fantastic time here and the fans have always been amazing to me.
I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my family to experience living overseas and for me to play in the MLS with a contract that will take me to the age of 35. I have no doubt I shall be coming back as a fan supporting the team in the years to come too.
Sky Sports' Staff later provided an additional statement from Defoe discussing the transfer:
"I was there nine years so you can imagine what it's like. I think everyone knows how I feel about Tottenham," he told Sky Sports News in an exclusive interview.
"I have had a special relationship with the fans over the years but it's football and players move on.
"At the age of 31 it is a great opportunity for me and my family."
"I've been through some things with my family over the last few years and sometimes it is nice to have a change," he added.
"I only had a year left on my contract at Tottenham. If you have a year left and someone comes in and offers you four, you have to think about it and consider your options. It's as simple as that."
Defoe has been with Tottenham since coming over from West Ham United in the 2003-04 season. He spent the next 10 seasons contributing at a high level for the Spurs attack.
Is this a smart move for Jermain Defoe?
Last year, the England international finished second in the club's scoring ranks with 11 goals while helping Spurs finish fifth in the league table.
Unfortunately, the 31-year-old veteran has seemingly fallen out of favour with the coaching staff and has struggled for Premier League minutes. He only has three starts and has failed to contribute either a goal or an assist.
The good news is Defoe still showcased his ability in Europa League matches, scoring seven times in just five starts. He also added two goals and three assists in three Capital One Cup matches, per Transfermark.co.uk.
By moving to Toronto FC, he will get plenty more chances to score as he will likely have a prominent role for the struggling franchise. In 2013, the club finished second to last in the Eastern Conference with only 29 points in 34 matches.
Mike Prindiville of Pro Soccer Talk explains why this deal was made:
Toronto has made a big money offer to Defoe as part of club president/CEO Tim Leiweke’s plan to bring a world star to the Canadian franchise.
For Toronto, the capture of Defoe would be a major coup for a club still searching for its first MLS playoff run. He will likely partner with Brazilian striker Gilberto, who Toronto signed as a Designated Player on December 13th.
On the other hand, Andy Edwards of MLSSoccer.com does not think Defoe will be successful at this level:
Here's the problem with Jermain Defoe: He needs four 1-on-1 chances to score one. And with TFC, how many of those easy chances will he see?— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) January 8, 2014
Still, Toronto will hope that Defoe can use his natural scoring ability to help the entire club and make everyone on the roster better. With some luck, they could end up reaching the postseason for the first time in history.
Meanwhile, Defoe gets a nice payday as well as the chance to play more often after seeing his role reduced with Tottenham. If things go according to plan, this could end up being the perfect move for everyone involved.
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