Lack Of Football At Tottenham To Take Jermain Defoe To Toronto FC (MLS)


Jermain Defoe off to Toronto [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]Jermain Defoe has agreed a transfer to Canada to join Major League Soccer (MLS) team Toronto FC. Defoe has had limited opportunity with Tottenham this season and is anxious for regular football to ensure his selection for the England World Cup squad for Brazil in the summer.

A small snippet of football transfer news which appeared in a newspaper a couple of months ago suggested that the former Tottenham defender, Ryan Nelsen, who is now manager of Toronto was interested in taking Defoe to Canada. At the time it seemed fanciful but it would appear that it is about to become fact rather than fiction as reported by the Mirror with a fee of £6m involved.

Jermain Defoe has scored only one Premier League goal in 2013, against Manchester City at White Hart Lane last March. The signing of Roberto Soldado from Valencia has restricted Defoe to just one Premier League start this season. That was against West Ham United but Defoe fared no better than the Spanish international striker who has struggled to find the net with Spurs.

Defoe has played in Tottenham’s Europa League matches and Cup games this season collecting 9 goals which have taken him to 5th place on Tottenham’s all-time goalscoring list. In two spells with the club he now has 142 goals. His penalty in the last Europa League match against FC Sheriff made him Tottenham’s record goalscorer in European competitions with 23 goals, one ahead of 1970s hero Martin Chivers.

Defoe will be hoping that regular football with Toronto in the MLS will ensure him selection in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup Finals. He has been a regular inclusion in the manager’s squad but has had limited opportunities as the manager has played the younger England strikers who are playing and scoring regularly in the Premier League for their clubs.

Meeting Old Friends

If the deal is completed, Defoe would become the fourth Tottenham player to move directly to a team in the MLS. Robbie Keane joined LA Galaxy in the summer of 2011 and has continued to score regularly for Ireland. Last January goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini made the move to link up with Keane at Galaxy and in the summer Clint Dempsey moved to Seattle Sounders in a surprise transfer as he again looked for regular football as captain of the US team in a World Cup year. The former Tottenham youngster, John Bostock, had a trial with Toronto last spring before joining Standard Liege on his release by Spurs in the summer. Brad Friedel was linked with a coaching post at Columbus Crew earlier this season.

Career At Tottenham

Jermain Defoe first joined Spurs from West Ham United in January, 2004. He scored on his debut against Portsmouth and was a regular until a move to Portsmouth in January, 2008 when Juande Ramos opted for Dimitar Berbatov and Keane as his number one strike partnership. A year later he returned to White Hart Lane as Harry Redknapp recruited players to strengthen a Spurs team struggling after a poor start under Ramos. He had a good start to the 2012-13 season under Andre Villas-Boas scoring 14 goals in the first half of the season.

In recent weeks there have been comments from Defoe concerning his lack of football at Tottenham and his desire to make the World Cup squad. Clubs in England were reported to be interested including West Ham and QPR. The move to Toronto seems a strange choice with his desire to impress Roy Hodgson but he is guaranteed regular football in Canada and when David Beckham moved to LA Galaxy, it didn’t harm his chances of continuing his England career.

The deal is said to be agreed with Toronto making arrangements to ensure Defoe settles quickly into his new environment. Defoe is hoping to stay with Spurs through the busy schedule of matches in the coming months before joining up with Toronto for the start of the MLS season in March.

Defoe has served Tottenham well and many will be sorry to see him leave White Hart Lane when the move is completed.