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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Defoe reveals transfer confusion at Spurs

Jermain Defoe says he was not sure which players would turn up in the dressing room as Tottenham concluded a series of last-minute deals before the close of the transfer window.

Defoe saw Spurs bring in Moussa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey during this period, while stars Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart departed White Hart Lane.

The club also attempted to sell Tom Huddlestone and captain Michael Dawson, and Defoe claims the uncertainty over the team became something of a joke with the players.

"It was a bit mad," said Defoe. "You walk into the changing rooms, see the lads and don't know if you're going to see them the next day. It's funny.

"I had my wisdom tooth out one day, came in and Tom Huddlestone had gone to Stoke [although the move stalled]. Someone else went. I said to the lads: 'I miss one day and all the players are gone!'"

The England striker also experienced uncertainty over his future over the course of the summer. Defoe was linked to Queens Park Rangers, Aston Villa and Sunderland and explained that the doubt was a cause of anxiety during the transfer window.

"Every day I would walk out of my house and fans would come up to me and ask whether I was staying. I would love to have turned round and say I was staying but I was not too sure. When you are unsettled, it is not good.

"Obviously the chairman [Daniel Levy] made it clear he wanted me to stay as the manager likes me. He [Villas-Boas] said I'd looked bright in training, had a good pre-season and he wanted me to stay.

"I love the club and the fans have been fantastic from day one. My family are in London and I love the boys at the club so I've signed a new contract and I'm settled now," he said.

Off the pitch, it has been a time of loss and turmoil for Defoe, whose father died of throat cancer during the European Championship. Three years earlier, Defoe's half-brother Jade was killed in an assault, while his cousin Hannah died diving into a hotel swimming pool in St Lucia in July.

"She was only 21. She was electrocuted in a pool. Something I've never heard of before. I was in America with Tottenham and had to fly home again to be with my family. It's been hard.

"When that happened, you start to ask questions like, 'Why is this happening?' You think about your life. You don't know for sure whether you will be here tomorrow. You have to be strong. The only time I am really at peace is when I am training and playing.

"When you're young, nothing is more important than football but as you get older, you get married, have kids and lose people. Then you realise your family is more important. I remember Craig Bellamy saying there was more to life than football in terms of family. Show them you love them.

"Life is short. While you are here it is important to enjoy the good times. I don't get nervous before games. I am living the dream. I have worked hard over the years. When I was a kid I always wanted to play for my country and now I'm here I will enjoy it," said Defoe.

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