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Tottenham announce Defoe transfer to TFC

JermainDefoeTottenham1-UEL (Getty)


Watch out MLS: Toronto FC is for real.

Tottenham confirmed in a press release that forward Jermain Defoe has completed a transfer to TFC, signing a four-year contract with the club in the multifaceted deal. Though no transfer fee was disclosed, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment are reportedly paying Tottenham a fee “in excess of $10 million.” TFC confirmed the deal later on Friday.

The same report in cites Defoe’s earnings at approximately $7.8 million per season, which would make him the highest earner in Major League Soccer. The 31-year-old will officially move to TFC on Feb. 28, two weeks prior to their first game of the 2014 MLS season at the Seattle Sounders. Defoe’s signing comes just one day after AS Roma confirmed that U.S. Men’s National Team starter Michael Bradley has completed a $10 million transfer to TFC.

“I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my family to experience living overseas and for me to play in the MLS with a contract that will take me to the age of 35,” Defoe said in a statement on Tottenham’s website. “I have no doubt I shall be coming back as a fan supporting the team in the years to come too.”

In addition to the transfer, Tottenham and MLSE have signed a four-year advertising rights agreement, which includes “which includes promotional, branding, experiential activities, advertising, broadcasting, social media and digital rights” sharing across all of MLSE’s entities. MLSE will also sell official Tottenham merchandise at their retail stores.

A third piece of the deal is that the two clubs have agreed to set up a friendly match on July 23 at BMO Field. It will be the second of three games on Tottenham’s North American tour this summer.


What do you think of this news? Think that TFC is an instant MLS Cup contender? How many goals do you expect Defoe to score? What does this deal say about MLS as a whole?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This just in NE Revolution sign a cheap injured striker. They also have announced and said for the 18 year in a row that a stadium is their high priority. lmao.

  2. You guys realize its MLSE footing the bill for both Bradley and Defore. This is not a “risky” move for MLS because the company paying these guys is dipping into their vault of endless money funded by the cash cow that is the Toronto Maple Leafs (along with the Toronto Raptors and several real estate complexes). These moves are an instant win for both TFC and MLS as well as a long-term financial win for MLSE.

  3. poor TFC. they shouldn’t have waiting until Monday. now Monday won’t be as exciting. it’ll still be awesome, but by then no one will be spitting out any coffee.

  4. i don’t get 10M for a 31yr old Defoe…. Michu cost 4M, Benteke cost 11M…. I had read that West Ham wanted Defoe for 2M pounds, and nothing more… What a payday for Tottenham!….you cant tell me there’s not some 23-26yr old strikers in South America, or even Eastern Europe that would be interested in MLS for that kind of money…players that aren’t ready for Europe yet, but that MLS teams could possibly make a profit on in the future

  5. So sad, big markets can gets signings like this.
    Only if Dallas had a Dallas stadium.
    Dc needs a stadium and open their wallet like their new owner does it.
    Chicago, sucky stadium location and the rest is OBVIOUS, cough cough owner and money.
    Houston, could be a super Latino team with top Latino dps due to their big Latino feel in the city.
    Colorado rapids, another Chicago. If would pick Denver if I was a DP besides LA.
    Montreal what u waiting for
    Vancouver, what I waiting for.
    I think Philadelphia has the magic for big dps but not the money.
    Skc, even though You won MLS cup,MLS is changing and you guys have the money. So stop being delusional.
    New England, wow, another Chicago. Move closer to boston and rebrand. A sleeping giant…..
    Chivas USA, just get yourself 3 top Mexicans as dps and boom. Wtf what you’re waiting for?
    As for teams like San Jose, crew, rsl, Philly, chivas USA, and even New England, good luck……

    • The Crew are a ‘Man with a vision’ away from being there. They were just bought for $60mil (most ever for an MLS team), and I think Precourt is willing to spend some cash. We just need a person who knows how to put a team together – I’m not sure Berhalter is the one to do it. I think he can be a great coach, I just think we need a Brian Bliss type back to find the players.

  6. If they’re able to keep Laba, which may take a DP slot trade but they could do it, then all these comments about money and top heavy why would they want to play there wont matter because, this:




    and if DeRo still has anything left you might have him off the bench as well

  7. 7.8 millions for one player.
    Meanwhile, the rest of the players can’t wait to get out of MLS to a league where they can earn a living wage.

      • I don’t think it’s stupid but rather ludacris. One good thing that may come from this is an influx of exposure and scouting. Maybe more young Brazilians; Chileans, Argentinos, Uruguayos, Mexicans, etc will begin to consider MLS as a viable stepping stone. More Diego Valeris and Mauro Rosales. Life has never been fair but we can take advantage of those opportunities afforded us. I’ll leave the politics away from the game and enjoy it.

    • It still leaves room for player growth. It’s not like Jermain Defoe can stop every individual from developing. It is not the same as the Mom and Pop shops vs Walmart. Soccer is way too huge.

  8. So do I get that right that TFC is now paying $14 million for just two players? ($7.8 for Defoe and $6.5 for Bradley).

    Last year RBNY, Galaxy, and Sounders all had total team salaries of a little less than $10 million. That means that TOR is going to be paying $16-$17 million for their team, more than 60% more than the next highest team.

    If TFC misses the playoffs again (not a long shot considering WC and possibility of injury to the top 2), that would just be brutal.

  9. these $5-10 Million a year players are gonna bring down MLS if nothing is done to address those players making $35K-$80K salaries….

    • MLSE owns TFC. MLSE is owned by Rogers and Bell, two of the largest/richest corporations in the country. They have oodles of money to burn. This is merely a drop in a very large bucket.

      On Defoe: I don’t see why he won’t be able to find similar success to DiViao. As a long suffering Portsmouth supporter i remember his play with fondness. the guy is in good shape and reacts quickly. I’ll go out on a limb and predict 12-15 goals…

    • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, one of the biggest sporting concerns on the planet with over $2 billion in assets. This is isn’t a lot of money for them.

  10. Twenty million in two days.

    In case folks are wondering, this is why MLS has a salary cap, even with exemptions. You’re either a billionaire willing to write check like this (and surely lose money on a ten million plus wage bill) or you aren’t. Everyone who wants to open (someone else’s) purse strings, look at your team, do you see an owner willing to lose ten-twenty million a season? No? Then congratulations, you’re Fulham.

  11. Starting with the Dempsey move, and now Bradley and Defoe, I get the feeling this may be a HUGE summer for MLS. The single-entity structure was put in place to ensure financial stability, and the growth of the league. Now with the league expanding, and more expansion planned, they will need to bring in more and more quality players. I really hope this is the sign of the dam about to bust. We’ll see.

  12. Dude TFC are stacked Dero; Defoe, Bradley, Jackson…What an attack… goodbye are the days of Ernshaw and that Dutch guy?…..I can only imagine if they still had Osorio… wow. They get the Big$ Splurge of the off seaason. 😉

  13. As the Galaxy showed last year, a top-heavy squad leaves little room for error. If your top 2 or 3 players can’t get it done, then you better hope the rest of the squad can step up and win games.

    These signings are great for American soccer, but I doubt this will push Toronto to a top team in MLS.

      • we’re talking about the Galaxy that, before last year, played in the MLS Cup final 3 out of 5 years and won it twice in a row with the ‘top heavy’ plan

        not saying it’s the only way, but it works quite well evidently

      • I believe early on the issue was they only had the Beckham DP plus the Donovan grandfather, and were carrying about 4 expensive players (Cannon and someone else) under a fairly hard cap. They had minimal funds to spend elsewhere on the team — hence players like Magee — and Gullit was lost in all the rules and having to field a reserve team.

        They got the 3 DP rule in, plus Arena with his understanding of the league bells and whistles, and it changed in a hurry. With 3 players fairly off-books you can add better supporting talent, and you can also field 1/3 of a soccer team with stars in a league where some teams don’t have 1 such player. The more DPs there are and the more it goes off-cap the greater an advantage it is, as long as they stay healthy and happy.

        LA was unsettled at keeper this year — made a poor bet on Cudicini they had to undo with Penedo — and the defense wasn’t the same. I’m also going to be interested going forward whether they are as effective with a defensive DP instead of 3 highly paid attackers, particularly if teams like Seattle, NY, and TFC are matching the spending.

  14. So far TFC have improved in midfield and at forward. Nelson now has to focus on his defense. The TFC back four looked all at sea much of last season. Bradley will help some merely by stabilizing the center of midfield, but the rest has to be brought up to snuff. If Bradley and Defoe are available and playing, TFC would be favored to take the Voyageurs Cup and go into the CONCACAF Champions League, but that tournament runs quite close to the pre-World Cup camps and at least Bradley will be gone for that and maybe Defoe as well.

  15. Dafoe. De Ro. Bradley. The spine of the team is strong. But I agree about injuries. Isn’t BMO Field turf? Do the players like it? Why not go to grass? And why didn’t my beloved NYRB get Bradley? : )

  16. TFC is pushing all of its chips to the center of the table. If these two moves don’t yield enormous returns, they will have hamstrung the franchise for another five years. They had better hope the other 20+ guys on the roster can measure up.

    • Yeah, this is like $20 million transfer fees and another $15-20 million salary per annum. And this used to be a selling league with a hard cap of like $2-3 million.

    • Way overpaid. He is a quality player, but certainly not at that price. I give props to Toronto for trying to make something happen, but let’s see how this deal looks in years 3 and 4.

      • Truth. Unfortunately to get the big names (big for North America, that is) we’re have to over pay, because our reputation still isn’t there.

      • People say, “he’s overpaid” but who else can they bring into the league with the same amount of notoriety but for the less?

        “The MLS is still viewed as something of a novelty by some – a league with the financial power to lure players away (like Middle Eastern leagues often do) but not one with any great footballing gravitas.”

    • I agree. For that matter, Bradley is overpaid too, and I love the guy. I really don’t understand the business model for TFC and MLS here. Who’s footing the transfer fees? I’m all for increasing the visibility and quality of MLS, which both of these moves do, but at what cost?

    • Fair argument and I do worry about the sustainable economics of such moves in light of NASL history. Some teams like Seattle have more of an obvious ability to afford this than others, and balanced budgets aside, you can start getting into parity discussions also.

      But I think with Dempsey and Bradley and a willingness to pay a transfer fee on top of salary you would start being competitive for prime age talent as opposed to retirement home players…..though Defoe is still arguably more on the Beckham end. Until now the reticence to pay transfers (good or ill) basically directed you towards the young or old ends of the player pool for international transfers.

      You’ll still have to convince people to come here in their prime, but the foundation is being laid. Whether we can afford it all, another question.

      In related news, Houston needs to get off their tail if they intend to compete. Since we moved from a hard cap to DPs and transfer fees the model of competing solely by salary parity within the squad is not working as well. You might be the best cheap team but won’t compete with the teams that spend.

      • I must admit to being ignorant to the revenue streams of MLS. Last time I checked, only a few teams were turning a profit, but the league was not as a whole.
        Also, the most recent TV deal is better, but still not great, and the recent national ratings are not gonna change that anytime soon. If you look at the success of the big 4 American sports, it is all tied to TV dollars. MLS has a huge uphill climb in that regard. The league does better in local TV markets and pockets of regional interest, but aside from the Pacific Northwest, it is not a widespread cultural phenomenon.
        I guess the league has hit a crossroads. It is on the verge of being profitable, but needs to bust through a glass ceiling to do so. Maybe these kinds of moves (Dempsey, Bradley, Defoe, etc.) are the way to do so, but it is definitely a high risk, high reward situation.

      • It would help if they would open up their match day live service to international viewers and not just leave it locked up to the US and Canada!! Not a ton of revenue but they are leaving a whole market place out!

      • As i have written before, while I understand that teams want some marquee names, for the overall strength of the leagues and its teams, it would make more sense to remove one DP, double the salary cap, at least. Or instead of a third DP, every team can have a given amount, $10 million now seems the going rate, to spend on higher paid players. It makes a lot more sense to me to get 4 players at $2.5 million each than one guy at $10 million. Look at the success of players like Giles Barnes or Nigel Reo-Coker. You can get a lot of fringe EPL or other top league players who are better than most MLS players for that kind of money and do more for your team and league quality over all.

    • As a Spurs supporter I vehemently disagree. Dude has only started a handful of games and they seem to be all in the Europa League (where he was scoring like crazy). AVB’s idiotic 4-5-1 with Soldado up top pushed him out of the lineup, and then Adebayor decided to start playing well once Sherwood took over – really revitalizing his career.

      Jermain Defoe is going to light up the MLS… I’m still upset Spurs weren’t using him for more even if just to come in as a sub and pester defenders.

  17. In other news, the Chicago Fire continue to do nothing about anything in one of the best sports markets on this planet. What a waste.


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