Top Stories

Report: TFC set to sign Defoe in blockbuster deal

Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur chases the ball


Toronto FC’s courtship of top European forwards has been going on for months, and now it appears that quest for a top striker is ready to bear fruit.

The Daily Mirror is reporting that TFC is set to make Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe the highest-paid player in MLS history, in a four-year, $7.5 million per-year deal that will come after a reported MLS-record $9.72 million transfer. The deal is expected to become official when the winter transfer period opens on January 1st.

The move would reunite Defoe with Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen, who was Defoe’s teammate for a brief time with Tottenham.

Toronto FC has also been linked with Italian striker Alberto Gilardino.


What do you think of this development? Think he’s worth the transfer and salary figures being cited? See TFC as a playoff contender with the potential additions of Defoe and Gilardino?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. All these fools are mad hahaha! Congrats on Defoe because the prescence of Spurs scumbags will make Henry play that much harder vs TFC.

  2. Didn’t spending millions lead to the eventual demise of the NASL in the 80s? Does MLS have the funds? It’s not the US government after all — it can’t print money.

  3. It seems there are 10-ish cities in MLS that increasingly can genuinely draw big names (if the owners can afford it), which is cool compared to the usual LA/NY duopoly on big names. Maybe something in order like-
    1. LA
    2. NY
    3. NY
    4. Toronto
    5. Montreal
    6. Chicago
    7. Seattle
    8. Vancouver
    I think you’ll be able to add Orlando to that last, obviously Miami if they get a team, DC if they ever get a stadium (owner has said he will spend a ton once he stops losing money on the stadium lease), maybe others. Impressive.

    • I know that they might be bigger markets but I am pretty sure that Seattle has had a much easier time getting top talent than Toronto, Montreal and Chicago. It may not keep up but as of now not sure how you’d rank them ahead of Seattle.

  4. I love seeing marquee players going to teams other than LA, NY, and Seattle. Toronto totally deserves it, they have loyal, long sufferring fan base there.

  5. why would he completely kill his chances of making it to England’s WC squad??

    Tottenham are 1 loss away from getting a new manager, could be a fresh start for him as well

  6. Defoe would be a starter under any other EPL coach except AVB. An interesting note is that Defoe was brought up under the Spurs academy system and has played nowhere else (except loans) but Tottenham. I do think he wants to experience a different culture and different football before he hangs up his cleats. Getting the creds and big money from MLS, gas a lot to do with stroking an ego and TFC have really got his attention.

    • Are you sure about that? I remember him at West Ham with Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand… West Ham had a lot of young talent they later sold and the rest is history.

    • I’m sorry, bottlcaps, is your Google broken?

      Heh, kidding. But you’re wrong. Defoe was signed by West Ham at 16 and is a product of their academy. He didn’t sign for Spurs till he was 21. He also spent time at Pompey– and not a loan, an outright sale. But yes, he’s spent most of his peak years at Spurs.

  7. Who in their right mind pays almost a $10 M USD transfer fee for a player who’s going to be a free agent in July???

    He’s a great signing but was the high transfer fee needed for a 31 y.o. player who would have been a free agent at the end of the season?

    • Agreed, but TFC probably had some say and they wanted to ensure they would get the signing, waiting would entail another suitor potentially making an offer. Defoe is still young enough and good enough that he would not go for peanuts in any case. It might just point out how desperate TFC is.

  8. Thoughts on comments:

    Don’t we want the British bias against the US to mean he doesn’t make their Nat team?

    EJ is getting what he deserves and will get more. Guys were complaining that Seattle traded Nagle and Fucito for his rights. I love Nagle and Fucito, but come on.

    Signing one good forward will not solve TFC problems, they need more than that, but it might sell tickets, which is one of their problems.

    • There is no such thing as “British bias against the US” American players are given plenty of chances in England. some make it some don’t.
      The ones that don’t make it it’s because they’re just not good enough. Coaches are not going to leave the better payer on the bench just because he’s of certain nationality.
      That’s just stupid.

      • But if coaches in England are predisposed to think that players Made in the USA simply cannot be as talented as players growing up elsewhere, which, sadly, is also is a widespread affliction also suffered by many German coaches, then the player developed in the USA will be at a disadvantage to the non-USA-developed players–along the lines of “talent is in the eyes of the beholder.”

      • True. There may be a fan bias against Americans, but I recall a quote from Michael Bradley saying coaches often favor Americans because of their workrate and dedication.

  9. I’ve never been huge Defoe fan over the years. I’ve always though the was pretty selfish and while he does score goals, he has managed to kill some attacks with his inability to look for players that might be in a better position. He often can’t think past himself. That’s not to say he can’t be a huge success in MLS, he can be, and the impact could be significant.

    My only question is — will moving to MLS still keep him in the England team?? He seems poised to make their WC squad but it does make you think if he will be selected now that he’s in MLS. I don’t know Hodgson’s stance on MLS.

    • word is he’s waiting for Hodgson’s decision to see if it will affect his wc status, that’s why is hasn’t been made “official” yet.

    • He’s a pure finisher man, he’s the person you dish the ball to to tap in the goal or shoot. He’s not Arguero, Tevez or Dempsey.

  10. OMG at the bleeding hearts on here. So what the other guys make less, Sports are the only profession on this earth that you can quintuple your income. Ala Graham Zusi came in making 75K now look at him. Or Pontius now makes over 300K. You guys act like this is some kind of disservice but its not, you actually have to work and improve to get paid well. But if you do it you could be the next Jermaine Defoe or Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey. The Rewards far out weigh the risks. I’d take those chances any day of the week.

    • Alexandria, please go away, you are making TO MUCH SENSE!
      It’s funny how much people b*tch and moan, about mls not having enough good players
      but when they actually spend money, then it’s not the right way, or the right player, or whatever……I’d take my chances earning 40-50 a year playing next to defoe learning my craft & if I don’t like it, then I guess I would get a boring 9 to 5 job. End of story,NOBODY is being forced to play, specially when you are an average player and yet EARN money.

    • Let’s face it, no matter what happens the whiners will be out in full force. Play young Americans, the whines will be about quality ( even when they are very good )

      Sign quality name players, they will figure out other ways to whine.

  11. MLS owners clearly have some money to spend. Why this DP system madness instead of raising the salary cap? How much better would TFC be if they were allowed to spend that money on five players rather than combine it into one. Same thing (to a lesser extent) in Seattle with Dempsey

    When is the next collective bargaining agreement?

    • hit the nail right on the head, tom. Defoe, IMO, is still a good player, but he is not worth the kind of money TFC reportedly plans to pay him and no doubt the grunts who are risking their bodies and earning pitiful salaries some probably earning less than the boss’s secretary, no doubt will not be happy with the latest MLS waste of money. A case could be made for having DP salaries if someone could prove that a player like defoe will actually pay for his huge salary through increased sales. but until I see a scientifically based study proving that DP’s increase MLS revenue I don’t believe it. In fact, I think it is possible that MLS revenue would remain nearly stable if you got rid of the top 15 paid DPs from the league and sent them into old folks homes where most of them belong (with, of course, the exception of Clint).

      I wonder how Eddie Johnson feels about the Defoe news.

      • biff, when you say “the grunts who are risking their bodies and earning pitiful salaries” first of all nobody is forcing them to play, let them get a 9-5 job, also if they were very good they would get paid better(donovan,dempsey,o.gonzalez,alonso,etc.) . Your worst part was when you “wondered how Eddie Johnson feels about the Defoe news….c’mon now, are you really comparing EJ with Defoe?!
        EJ is just lucky mls exists and gave him a second chance…average forward & spoiled brat.

      • well, frank from santiago, I notice from your spouting off to my comment and to others on this thread that this must be a topic dear to your heart. And I also notice that you failed to spout off about the main point of my comment, i.e….

        ***A case could be made for having DP salaries if someone could prove that a player like defoe will actually pay for his huge salary through increased sales. but until I see a scientifically based study proving that DP’s increase MLS revenue I don’t believe it. In fact, I think it is possible that MLS revenue would remain nearly stable if you got rid of the top 15 paid DPs from the league and sent them into old folks homes***

        Do you really think, frank from santiago, that people are buying tickets to watch oldsters who can no longer make it in Europe huffing and puffing in MLS?

        I might add that if MLS would cut those wasteful salaries, and if, as I suspect, MLS revenue remains stable, then profits would sky-rocket and instead of MLS being a retirement home for washed-up European players, then MLS could start investing in young up-and-coming talent.

  12. Jermain is a striker. That means he plays way up the field. That also means someone needs to get the ball to him before he can do anything with it. Who will do that TFC?

  13. so this is the state of MLS..overpaid players on $7.5 million wages playing alongside players making 65k.

    Put it this way…Defoe 7.5 mil….Eddie Johnson 150k

    does the MLS want to be the NFL where one or two players get all the money and the rest fight over chump change?

    WHy does MLS refuse to act like other soccer leagues around the world?

    • This feeling of financial equality for the rest of us sounds like “The airing of grievances around the Festivus pole”. Look, the bottom tier guys made as much as 16k under the old collective bargaining agreement. Now that’s brutal. They do significantly better now and I can assure you they’ll do much better on the next CBA. Also, keep in mind that there are players who have come from Central & South America due to the fact that this league actually pays you every two weeks with a check you can cash. There are leagues around the world where this is not happening. Guys will get paid better when they play better. A DP is brought on to put fannies in the seats and viewers on TV in addition to their caliber if play. Hence the price tag. Lewieke knows what he’s doing. I’m sure more DP’s are coming.

      • But who cares if he’s really worth 4 million and is getting paid 7.5 million? It’s MLSE’s money at that point and clearly it has no bearing on their ability to spend money elsewhere on the team (see–NHL purchase and Giladrino possible signing).

    • Please compare the careers of Eddie Johnson and Jermaine Defoe… If you take both of their resume’s and interviewed both of them you’d come to the same conclusion Leiweke did. Jermaine Defoe is the better option. Eddie Johnson was SAVED by Seattle and has played his way to a better contract unfortunately his attitude and immaturity has made finding an employer to pay him that contract hard. His fault not the leagues. And your Idea that mimicking the NFL is so bad is ridiculous the NFL is the best Operated Sporting league on the planet with the majority of its revenues coming from 1 country. Why does MLS refuse to act like other Soccer leagues? easy Why does it have too? None of them have the same competition MLS has none of them. What MLS has been able to do so far is incredible.

    • Coco
      Was EJ in Tottenham wish list ?


      Is he now ?

      I really, really doubt it. I am not saying you have to agree with how the market values players, but it is a market. EJ can to go Tottenham.

      ps. I am not really for the DPs, just don’t really see how you think EJ is worth that kind of money coveted by almost no one. $500-700k sure, but that is what he will get.

      • i never said EJ was worth that kind of money. But one reason he’s only making 150k is because of the salary cap and wage structure.

        I agree that EJ’s market value is probably around 500k.

        is this what MLS is going to become? 7.5 mil players (way above market value) playing alongside 150k players who are underpaid.

        This is a farcical wage structure.

      • Wait wait wait. EJ is making $150k at the moment because he was coming off an extended stretch of consistently poor play, and Seattle threw him a lifeline. That salary was perfectly appropriate for him – generous, even. Now that he’s playing better, someone is probably going to pay him something close to the kind of money you think is fair. So you’ll have no gripe on that end. And Defoe’s current wages at Spurs come out to over $8 mil/yr, so he’s not overpaid – he’s taking a bit of a paycut to come, albeit an appropriate one at his age. So there’s really nothing distorted here.

        For what it’s worth, transfermarkt lists Defoe’s market value at 7 mil pounds and EJ’s at 650k. So the market valuations of these two players are indeed very far apart.

  14. excited to have Defoe in the league.

    at this point for TFC they just need someone to bring positive attention back to the team. Defoe and possibly another DP can do that.. Until they add in a couple decent draft picks and other signings/trades they won’t be a winning team..

    Lewinke wants to buy his way into the playoffs…

    • Lewinke wants to buy his way into the playoffs…
      But that is what all sports have become,no?!?!
      man city, psg,monaco,yankees,heat,ETC.,……

      • and you could argue that he did that with LAG (at least that’s what he thinks)

        i just think that MLS is one of the most difficult league to do that in because of the extremely low salary cap; 3 DP players can certainly do a lot but not as much as 3 marquee players can do in other leagues. Without knowledge and commitment to doing all of the little things right; ncaa draft, academy, depth signings, quality mid-range guys, etc. its not going to work.

        TFC has a couple of decent pieces in Osario, Bendik, Dike, Laba and Earnshaw and probably has some up and coming guys in the academy but they still need to make some quality ”MLS” deals in order to compete for anything..

      • There may be some truth to that for LA, but to be fair (and I’m not LA fan) LA is pretty loaded with young talent. The big contracts don’t hurt, but they did a good job getting that academy pumping too.

  15. Statement signing. WHen Beckham came, people thought he was washed up. Didn’t turn out to be the case, btut that was the conventional wisdom.

    Dafoe is still on the English National Team, correct?

      • It seems to be the elephant in the room. Surprised it wasn’t taken up in the report. But in any event, it should make for an interesting test of league consistency (or I suspect the lack thereof).

      • unlike seattle, the owners in toronto dont need help; they got plenty of money (one owner just paid 5.2 billion for nhl rights in canada)…defoe is a couple pennies of that

      • The question is only whether the league will be consistent and fair to its member teams, not which team has more/less money than others.

  16. Wow. I’d heard rumors but didn’t think they could be true.

    Big signing. But is it a good one? I don’t know. Defoe can score goals on his own out of nowhere, and he’s been doing it left and right in the Europa League… but he is primarily a poacher, and he does need SOME minimal service. He’s also not a forward who combines very well or provides any service of his own. He’s nearly useless in the air and he’s no target man. But he’s got a hunger for goals, has very quick instincts in the box, and is a very good, if not quite great, finisher. This one could really go either way. He could score 10 or he could score 30. A lot will hinge on who Toronto puts around him.

  17. He’s a poor man’s Jeff Cunningham……………. 😉 Wait till Defoe realizes he’s getting service from 2 guys who make $30,000/year and probably deserve less.

  18. Think this is a great signing by tfc. Very good goals scorer, with him and dike (dee-kay) up front you have a good target and great speedy player running off him. Now need to work on 9 other players tbat can contribute.

  19. Is he still fighting for a world cup spot, or am I hopelessly ignorant about a national team I don’t care about? Great signing for them either way.

    • Defoe would certainly hope to be on the plane to Brazil, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Moving to TFC would probably hurt his chances, thus the loan to let him stay with Spurs until the start of the MLS season.

  20. Good signing. Similar profile to Robbie Keane when he signed. Pure goal scorer, bery hard working, real competitor. Hes not a take the money and run type.

  21. Defoe has a lot of excellent football left in him. If this comes to pass, next year he could win the Golden Boot or whatever they call it for MLS. The downsides are that he is pretty selfish and was injured quite a bit last year, but he has been healthy so far this year.

  22. How much did Mike Magee make last year? Since MLS is a single owner league, can they move every MLS player to a base salary with potential rewards based on performance that scale into the millions?

    I don’t really want to watch a league where one guy makes $8m/season while some other guy on the starting team and potentially contributing as much if not more might make $50k/year.

    • Magee will get paid. It depends on his contract situation. Same thing happens in every sports league, someone is underpaid, then explodes, and has to wait for a new contract to get paid more.

  23. Wow, I thought they would get ronaldinho or eto. MLS teams need to open their wallet, especially in 2014 after the World Cup or even before we know who’s going to the World Cup.
    I just wonder if ronaldinho will ever come to MLS.

    • Meh, Defoe is younger and playing at a higher level than Ronaldinho. Is Defoe worth what TFC are paying? Time will tell, but I bet it would take more to bring in Ronaldinho, and IMHO they’d be getting a lesser player.

  24. Those dollar figures are really high for someone like Defoe, Toronto has a lot of other needs. I get trying to make a statement but that is certainly a lot to drop.

    • Dollar figures don’t matter to TFC.

      MLSE has the money to throw around (one of their parent companies just dropped $5.2 Billion on Hockey Broadcast rights today!!!)

      A $7.5M dollar DP has the same cap hit as a $500k DP, so if that’s what it takes to bring in the DP they want, who cares!?

      It has ZERO effect on their ability to improve other areas of the team.

      • However, this is the kind of salary imbalance that is inevitable if you have a DP system. In fact, this deal makes me think MLS is much better off scaling back on DPs and raising the salary cap. The money going to Defoe could help Toronto more if it were spent on two or three players. Of course the salary cap does not allow for that.

      • It obviously depends, but, if you were to increase the salary cap to what say the third highest spending team spends including their DP’s (which would obviously be well above the cap) and remove the DP rule, the Galaxy’s, Sounders, etc. benefit the most. You’re absolutely right, the point of the DP rule is to be able to have great players without making the competition farcical, a la Europe. KC, Salt Lake, they aren’t the markets they are today if they know before the year starts they can’t compete. That’s bad, the DP rule represents a good middle ground.

        Also, if you get rid of the DP rule and just have a salary cap David Beckham and Thierry Henry never come to the league. No salary cap could contain their salaries, or at least no one that at least pretends to apply to more than 2 teams. I think most would agree they were pretty good for MLS…

      • “make only 100k” lol i would play pro football for 100k a year, hell i would play for an MLS team for 20k a year.

      • yeah,…but you are not very good 🙂

        seriously good players would want more especially when one their teams is making 75 times more.

  25. Defoe is a baller, he definitely still has it, and he can score goals on his own, which he’ll probably have to do with tfc, granted he stays healthy, they are a playoff team next year, and defoe is a top 2 scorer in the league.

  26. Now I hope EJ goes to Toronto FC as well. That could be a potent 1-2 up top. I wonder if they can get a decent CAM to deliver some service. I heard David Ferreira and Arevalo Rios are available.

  27. Does Toronto really think breaking the bank on Defoe will gloss over their other weaknesses–namely, the 10 other players in the starting lineup?

    • Actually, yeah, they do think that. They’ll need a C-mid to link up with him, but never, ever underestimate the value of a guy who can put the ball into the back of the net. He scores 20 this next year and all of a sudden things get real interesting for Toronto…they’ve got the fan base, they’ve got the passion, they just need some bloody HOPE. That happens and it’s a whole new ball game up in Toronto.

      Could be an expensive washout…or it could be the biggest English signing since Beckham. I’d lean towards the latter.

  28. Love it. Will be great when he wins the golden boot and TFC still stink!

    Would be a great signing though, especially BEFORE the world cup

  29. Perhaps his former teammate (Clint) had something to do with this. He saw him take the money and run. Who can blame them? A career is only so long.


Leave a Comment