Posted January 07, 2014

Source: Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC ‘not done yet, but close’

English Premier League, Europa League, Grant Wahl, MLS, Toronto FC, Transfer window
Jermain Defoe

A potential transfer of Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC is ‘not done yet, but close’ according to a source. (Cal Sport Images/AP)

A January transfer that would bring Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC is “not done yet, but close,” a high-ranking Toronto source tells SI.com.

The English international has received a lucrative offer from Toronto in the club’s efforts to make a big splash courtesy of Tim Leiweke, the president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (aka the Man who Landed David Beckham for the Los Angeles Galaxy).

Defoe, 31, has played his entire club career in England and was part of England’s squad during the entirety of World Cup 2014 qualifying, playing in four qualifiers. But he has been mostly out of favor this season at Spurs. He has made just three starts in league play, failing to register a goal. He’s done his damage in cup competitions, scoring seven goals in five UEFA Europa League matches and two more in three League Cup games.

It is Defoe’s desire to be part of England’s World Cup squad that has his January transfer destination still up in the air. Will England manager Roy Hodgson consider taking Defoe if he is playing in MLS? And might Defoe increase his World Cup chances by making a move to, say, West Ham, which reportedly has interest in him as well?

CREDITOR: Toronto FC has used rap star Drake to recruit players

Toronto has been pushing hard for Defoe as the club tries to end seven years of futility and qualify for the MLS playoffs for the first time. It has already added Brazilian forward Gilberto as a Designated Player and had been eyeing Italian and Genoa forward Alberto Gilardino as well.

WATCH: Gilberto’s jaw-dropping strike

8 comments
Alt4leto
Alt4leto

once a dirty skate, always a dirty skate !

morejunk
morejunk

I'm Spurs fan, think Defoe is...err was... great but this perpetual hiring of EPL retreads is not doing MLS any favors.  If they want to steal an idea from European football then save the money you pay the Beckhams, Defoes, Dempseys even (yeah I know he's American) and whoever else and create youth squads attached to the MLS sides that feed, house and educate (both in football--using European standards of play--and primary/secondary  school) the kids to play the game from a early age so that there is a deep pool of talent from which to draw.  Over the past 20 years that system has produced some of the greatest footballers.  It works and further it's clear that the youth/high school/college system that works for American football does not work for actual football (at least not in the US).

The crowds for MLS games are growing and with American football turning into nothing more than a slow motion snuff film, football could actually catch on in a big way in the US but not if it develops the reputation of being nothing more than a retirement home for international cast offs.

aaronspollock
aaronspollock

@morejunk, Defoe can be quite impactful in MLS. He has pace and quality and at the age of 31 (I know, not a spring chicken), he is still young enough to play at a high level for a few more years. They do need these types of players while the young talent is being cultivated. Has it been a slow process? Of course, but a lot of the MLS teams do have youth academies.


Football in the US is a far different beast as I am sure you would agree. This isn't England where football rules with autonomy...What does Football have to compete with in England? Cricket? Rugby? Olympic Sports?


Hopefully the exposure to the EPL (great coverage this year by NBC) and the education taking place on local levels, youth academies, national training facilities, etc. will start to pay off even more so. 


Another way to judge how Football is doing in the US is by how many US born players are competing overseas where the competition is way more fierce. 


Keats1821
Keats1821

MLS would love to put into effect programs like that in Europe. However, laws concerning the contracts of minors are much more difficult here in the states and make. The contracts themselves nearly unenforceable. England's laws, for instance, concerning minor contracts are difficult to break when it comes to employment - which is what a minor signs when entering into a developmental squad. Here in the US the same contract is much more easy to break - unless you are in California or New York - and laws concerning how much time a child spends within the system are also not in favor of the clubs. So it wouldn't do MLS much good to set up a development system for millions of dollars and not have the ability to be able to retain the talent being "signed."

But I agree with you that it would be best. Getting minors away from the high school and college game is preferential, as they really learn very little in those formats compared to a developmental squad.

morejunk
morejunk

@aaronspollock@morejunk 

Easy now.  I actually prefer Cricket over any other sport (yes I really am an American).  :-)

Don't even get me started on the Ashes.  Meh.

Keats1821
Keats1821

@aaronspollock I think it's a stretch to call the "academies" here with the MLS anything like those of Europe's academies, though. As morejunk was saying, there is so much more depth to the system in Europe. In the States they are more like occasional community training sessions instead of the in-depth training that European clubs provide. Still a step in the right direction, though, as you pointed out.

morejunk
morejunk

@aaronspollock@Keats1821

+1.

We would also do ourselves a world of good to get out of the CONCACAF and head for CONMEBOL.  Sure we'll get destroyed by the Brazilians, Argentinians...okay pretty much everybody for the first 5 or so years but we'll then be a true World Cup contender if we can start winning down there.  As will be clear come Brazil, good play in CONCACAF is not going to help us with the Germans.

aaronspollock
aaronspollock

@Keats1821, I was not comparing the youth academies of the MLS to those of the EPL. That would be rather silly to compare the MLS to the deepest and most competitive club league in the world. I was pointing out some of the steps that have been taken to try and identify raw talent earlier in the developmental process. 


Here is a snap shop since 1998 of those on the US World Cup Rosters who play their club football in Europe:


Only 12 of the 44 call-ups this year play in the US/Mexico. 32 are playing in Europe. We will see what this looks like when the final roster is announced.


17 in 2010

12 in 2006

12 in 2002

6 in 1998


This has very little to do with wins and losses in the World Cup or during qualifying. However, it is a sign that more US born players are showing the quality to be able to compete in some of the world's top leagues. It also sends a message to the rest of the world that we are cultivating talent that is desireable. Let's hope it translates into a better showing in Brazil and beyond.