By CAITLIN MURRAY
Jermain Defoe may or may not want to stay with Toronto FC, but for now, the English striker is staying put in Major League Soccer.
After being linked to multiple English Premier League clubs, Defoe failed to make a transfer move on Monday as the European transfer deadline drew to a close.
Queens Park Rangers emerged as the team that came the closest to landing Defoe, but according to manager Harry Redknapp, TFC refused to part with the English striker in the thick of a playoff race.
TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko told media on Monday that Defoe wanted to stay with his Canadian MLS club, simply telling the press: “He’s committed.”
Redknapp’s account of events was different, as was that of QPR owner Tony Fernandes. Both put the blame on a failed move on TFC, with Redknapp going so far as to say his club and Defoe had agreed on a deal, only to have Toronto FC balk at selling their star forward.
Even as QPR was open about their interest in the English striker, Bezbatchenko declined to specify which clubs made offers, but said there were multiple bids.
“I want everyone to know there was a lot of money on the table,” Bezbatchenko said. “It’s a serious business but we have a commitment to our fans and we decided to turn it down.”
Speculation has already begun that Defoe will look to make a move again after the current MLS season ends.
With Monday’s transfer deadline sparking a flurry of moves, clubs rumored to be possible destinations for Defoe also included West Ham, Arsenal, Leicester City, Newcastle and Hull City. Defoe was reportedly offered to Arsenal, which wound up buying Danny Welbeck from Manchester United. Hull City also spent big to address their forward need, setting a new club transfer record to acquire Palermo forward Abel Hernandez.
QPR seems the most likely destination for Defoe, who would be reunited with Redknapp, who has a reputation for reuniting with former players. On Monday, Redknapp brought Sandro and Niko Kranjcar to QPR, having managed them both at Tottenham previously.
Defoe joined TFC in January on a four-year deal that was reportedly worth as much as £90,000 a week. He has 11 career goals and two assists in 16 games played for Toronto FC.
Defoe remains sidelined with a groin injury and has no set return date. He has missed four TFC games recently due to the injury.
Not selling him is stupid. The GM should fire himself. Defoe is a great talent when healthy. When is the big deal. This is the stupid side of MLS. Toronto should pulls it head out and do some decent scouting and find a couple of Diego Fagundez. They are out there and that make the league a lot stronger in the long run. Ives is right on this that it is high time to let individual teams fail or progress based on their own decisions. The on the field product will get much better, faster.
They have never made the playoffs and whatever they think of Defoe are not going to get someone with his productivity on short notice. It would be a dumb spite sale. I think they wanted to buy the trophy and considered tossing their toys from the stroller, but have decided getting to the playoffs is enough this season, so they will keep Defoe. He may be gone in the winter because the team is not getting where they want, but selling players just because you thought you’d finish first is a good way of going back downhill.
Since when is the test of MLS how often it sells? The Houston Astros are the apotheosis of that “think” and they are awful to follow. Selling away TFC’s potential first playoff season would not be good for them, their fans, or MLS.
So Defoe is a great talent. And Toronto wants to win. So they should sell ? Hmmmm, yeah, no.
I dont understand what was so attractive about TFC for Defoe and Bradley to begin with. That organization has been a mess from the get-go. They’ve tried everything from one end of the pendulum to the other. What made them think anything would be different – Leiweke? Maybe but I would want to see evidence of a functioning organization before I made a move like that. Seems like all parties involved have over estimated their own worth.
They currently sit 4th in their conference and would make the playoffs; that itself would be a first. It is probably not near our or their expectations but the basic goal of the signings was to buy success for a team that has never seen the postseason.
I don’t think 11 goals in 16 games is a bust, I think they expected to be top of the league and briefly considered blowing up the team, before it hit them that it would be nuts to destroy their first playoff season. So they fired the coach and kept the players.
Defoe is likely gone in the January 2015 transfer window.
This should be a wake-up call to TFC (and to the rest of the MLS) to stop signing aging Euro players.
You can get WAY more value out of Latin America.
He’s not that old. And he’s been injured a lot.
I think the issue is more health than productivity, most MLS teams would be happy for 11G in 16 games.
I think health and age go virtually hand-in-hand.
He’s getting older and more injury prone.
Absolutely. The Euro market is over priced and comes with an ego. Look at Montero, Urriti, Castillo (Houston). NYRB has learned their lesson and they are finally going that route.
If TFC doesnt make the playoffs w/Defoe on the roster, they should sell him to QPR for 2 cents as commentary of what they think Defoe’s value is. You know they’ll be burning Canadian flags in merry ole England for an insult like that on one of their former national team players. MLS should do that from now on. If a DP guyunderperforms sell him back to his country for 2 cents. What an insult. I’m a genius
so why did he come to MLS?
why did they want this guy when he’s a flake? He always leaves clubs when tough times are near. 90,000 pounds a week for him is INSANE. he’s not worth half that if u ask me.
I can’t wait till the day we start kicking England’s a$$ regularly.What they think about our soccer is so backwards a few months ago Defoe wasn’t good enough for the WC because he wasn’t playing in a competitive league now they want him back. Same thing after the WC English newspaper were saying that Klinsmann should quit US and join Spurs. Apparently when it’s American it’s not good enough but once it’s European it’s instantly better