He may be heading towards the end of his career but at the age of 32, Jermain Defoe will be one of football’s hottest properties in the forthcoming transfer window. The former West Ham and Spurs striker has experienced just one season in the MLS with Toronto and despite a healthy return of 11 goals from 19 matches, it was a period hit by injury and his team’s struggles in their division have put a number of clubs on alert.
Toronto will surely want to keep hold of their player or at worst, allow him to play in the English Premier League on a loan basis only. Those 11 goals gave his MLS side just a slim hope of a top four finish and if they can supplement their squad ahead of the new season in North America, fortunes should improve in 2015.
The issue for Toronto is whether the player himself wants to move on. Defoe may retain hopes of an international recall by England but by playing in Canada, he is out of coach Hodgson’s radar, no matter how good his scoring record may be.
The most common rumour takes Defoe to Queens Park Rangers and it’s a logical option given that their current manager knows the player so well. Current QPR boss Harry Redknapp worked with the striker at West Ham, Spurs and Portsmouth and he would welcome his former charge back for a fourth spell.
Rangers are struggling towards the bottom of the Premier League and Defoe’s goals would be vital if the club are to avoid a drop into the Championship. Redknapp himself is very open about the reports and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Defoe were to end up at Loftus Road, either on a permanent or temporary basis.
Another of Jermain’s former employers have had plenty of issues in front of goal and with Spurs planning a shake up of their main strikers in January, could Defoe provide a temporary fix? Harry Kane has come through the ranks at White Hart Lane to become the club’s first choice centre forward but senior men Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor are clearly struggling and could find themselves surplus to requirements when the window opens once more.
Defoe finished his second spell at Tottenham with more than 100 goals and he remains the club’s leading scorer in European Competition. The fans love him and he would probably welcome the change.
Defoe has played the majority of his career in London, along with isolated spells on the south coast with Portsmouth and Bournemouth so it’s unlikely he would look to move too far away from the UK capital. That would tend to rule out clubs such as Newcastle, Sunderland and Liverpool who have problems in finding the net right now.
Relegation threatened sides such as Aston Villa and Hull City might also look to consider the idea of taking one of the Premier League’s most prolific strikers but again, a switch to the midlands and all points north isn’t going to happen.
There are no real suggestions that the player is unhappy in Canada but reports of a move back to the UK have gathered momentum and we probably can’t dismiss this as just transfer window gossip. The key lies with Jermain Defoe himself and if he still harbours hope of a return to the England set up at the age of 32, it’s unlikely that coach Roy Hodgson is going to take too much notice while he continues his playing career in the MLS.