Sources: Sunderland, Toronto FC agree to Jozy Altidore-Jermain Defoe swap
Sunderland and Toronto FC have agreed to a deal to swap strikers, with Jozy Altidore heading to the MLS club and Jermain Defoe returning to the Premier League, sources confirmed to ESPN FC.
Sunderland will also send an unspecified amount of cash to Toronto and MLS as part of the deal. The money involved will be an amount between Altidore's perceived current value and the $10 million (US) that Sunderland paid to acquire him from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in 2013, a source said.
Canadian news outlet TSN earlier reported a swap deal had been agreed, and called the amount of money Sunderland will include in the exchange "significant."
Although the deal has been agreed between the clubs, Altidore is still likely to be subject to the MLS allocation order, the fluid rules of which have always played a considerable role in which teams Designated Players land, before he becomes a Toronto player.
Toronto FC currently sit sixth in the allocation rankings behind Montreal, San Jose, Colorado, Chicago and Houston, but sources told ESPN FC on Monday that only Toronto and the Portland Timbers are willing to meet Altidore's salary demands of between $5 and $6 million per year.
A year ago, Toronto and MLS reportedly paid Tottenham a transfer fee of nearly $10 million (US) for Defoe. The difference in value now is related to the recent performances of the two strikers -- Defoe has shown he can still be a trusted goal-scoring asset, while Altidore has not.
Altidore, 25, remains the first-choice striker for the United States national team despite a brutal time at Sunderland that saw him score only one Premier League goal in a year and a half at the Stadium of Light.
Meanwhile, Defoe scored 11 goals in 19 games in his sole season in MLS. Defoe played for England at the 2010 World Cup, but England manager Roy Hodgson did not select the 32-year-old for his squad in Brazil last summer.
Defoe should be a welcome addition on the front line for Sunderland, who sit one place above the relegation zone having scored the second fewest goals in the Premier League this season.
Altidore, who has 25 goals in 76 appearances for the United States in his international career, will join his U.S. teammate Michael Bradley in Toronto. Altidore previously played in MLS with the New York Red Bulls from 2006-2008.
Kristan Heneage, Doug McIntyre and Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.