Toronto FC to sign Jermain Defoe
Tottenham Hotspur have announced that Jermain Defoe will join Toronto FC on Feb. 28.
The MLS side have long been linked with a move for the England international, and they had recently hinted that a move would be announced on Monday on their official website.
The prospect of a deal was then plunged into doubt when coach Ryan Nelsen told Sky Sports News that there had been interest from “top-four clubs in England” but Spurs announced on their official Twitter feed on Friday morning that a deal was done.
Jermain Defoe moves to MLS - Toronto FC pic.twitter.com/JNVLIUqlpq— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 10, 2014
The 31-year-old, who scored 142 goals in nine years with Spurs across two spells, told the club’s official website that he remained determined to end his time at White Hart Lane on a high.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Spurs boss Tim Sherwood said: "He travels out there on Sunday and he will be a Toronto player. Then he travels back to be with us until the end of February and we are obviously very grateful for that. He will undoubtedly help us in that time with the games we have.
"It is an opportunity Jermain wanted to take up. It’s a great opportunity for him and something he wanted to do. He has been going on for a while now. I didn’t know exactly what discussions were happening, but the club and Jermain seem happy with the situation, so I am happy too.
"Jermain has been immense. Not just for Tottenham, but for English football in general. He is one of the top strikers this Premier League has ever seen. His scoring record for club and country is second to none and long may that continue.
"I still see him having a future with England and going to the World Cup next summer. That instinct of scoring goals will never leave Jermain Defoe until his legs have gone and they are far from gone at the moment."
As part of the deal, Spurs will play a friendly against Toronto on July 23 as part of their preseason tour, while they have agreed an advertising and marketing rights deal with TFC owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE).
Toronto have also completed the signing of U.S. international Michael Bradley from Roma for 10 million euros.