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CONFIRMED: Defoe switch completed

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Prolific striker joins on three-and-a-half-year deal.

Sunderland AFC have completed the signing of striker Jermain Defoe from MLS side Toronto FC.

The highly sought-after frontman heads to the Stadium of Light after penning a three-and-a-half year deal with the Black Cats. 

The move sees Defoe return to the Barclays Premier League, where he has scored over 120 goals during spells with West Ham United, Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur.

I’ve always enjoyed coming up here and playing against Sunderland because of the stadium and the supporters. It is a great place to play and I’m really looking forward to it

- Jermain Defoe

Striker Jozy Altidore moves back to the MLS, where he started his career, signing for Toronto FC as part of the deal. 

Following five successful years in a second spell with Spurs, Defoe moved to the MLS at the start of 2014, joining the Canadian side and scoring 11 times in 16 games for the Reds.

Speaking about his return to English football, he said: “I am delighted to be here and I’m looking forward to the challenge. 

“It is a great club and I’ve always enjoyed coming up here and playing against Sunderland because of the stadium and the supporters. It is a great place to play and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Head coach Gus Poyet expressed his delight at the completion of the deal: “I am thrilled that Jermain is a Sunderland player.

"I know all about his attributes and his qualities first-hand and his exceptional goal-scoring record speaks for itself. He has something different, something special.

Defoe in profile

  • 220 goals in English football
  • 14th-highest scorer in PL history
  • Has scored six career hat-tricks
  • Holds PL record for most goals in one game - five
  • PL's record goalscorer as a substitute with 22 strikes off the bench

“We know each other very well - he was very young when we played together and I was coming to the end of my career, so I know him from inside the pitch.

"When I returned to Spurs as a coach it was a great experience for me to work with him, so I am really looking forward to having him as my player now and for him to be part of our team.

“I would also like to thank Jozy as his begins his career at his new club. It is a fresh start for him and we wish him well.” 

SAFC’s sporting director Lee Congerton said: “Jermain is a player who has proven his quality in the Premier League. Naturally, with a player of his calibre, there was a lot of interest in him, not only in England but across Europe, so we are delighted that he has chosen to come to Sunderland.”

The striker made his first team debut as a 17-year-old for West Ham United, going on to score more than 40 goals for the Hammers before a move to Tottenham, where he spent four years as a fans' favourite.

A prolific season with Portsmouth followed, resulting in Spurs re-signing the frontman. He bagged a further 79 goals for the club before moving to the MLS last year. 

During a glittering career with over 250 goals, Defoe has also earned 55 caps for England, including appearances at the FIFA World Cup finals for his country, scoring 19 times for the Three Lions.