The MLS striker QPR should target over Defoe


Harry Redknapp's desire to bring Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe to Queens Park Rangers in January is no secret, but there's another MLS front man who would prove a better addition...

A last-minute move at the transfer deadline might have failed to materialise for Jermain Defoe, but the Toronto FC striker’s desire to return to England remains well-documented.

Arriving from Tottenham Hotspur just over five months ago to much fanfare, the £6 million signing has been widely reported to be looking for an exit since head coach Ryan Nelsen’s sacking earlier this month, with an article in the Globe and Mail claiming Defoe sent a text to his former Spurs teammate in the aftermath, reading: ‘If you’re gone, I’m gone.’

That led to a hectic transfer deadline saga, which saw the England international jet back across the Atlantic admit reports of interest from the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Leicester, Newcastle, Hull and even Arsenal, with the former club thought to be the front-runners for his signature up until the final hours.

Toronto ultimately turned down all approaches for their star man but, with Harry Redknapp admitting he was keen to renew interest at a later date, his future with the MLS side appears bleak.

QPR could certainly do with additional firepower up front, having failed to replace Loic Remy following the Frenchman’s departure to Chelsea, but, despite an impressive Premier League strike-record of 124 goals in 381 appearances, one should be sceptical about whether Defoe is the man for the job.

Having agreed to a four-year, £70,000-plus-per-week deal with Toronto in January, the ex-West Ham United front man has scored 11 times in 16 MLS games since, but has spent large chunks of the campaign out injured, missing the last four games with a groin strain.

Aged 31, such problems are only likely to become more frequent over the coming years, but if QPR want a younger, more dynamic and versatile version of Defoe, then they could do a lot worse than look elsewhere in MLS to Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer.

A fellow Englishman, he recently made global news for taking a selife as a goal celebration but, with 19 goals in 28 games so far, is also one of the league’s deadliest marksmen, who would likely come at a much cheaper price than his well-paid compatriot.

The 24-year-old former Norwich City trainee first arrived in the US in 2009 to play at the college level, before going on to be selected 16th overall by Sporting KC in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft after a productive junior year at the University of South Florida.

His start to life in the US top-flight was admittedly slow but, after a four-month loan spell in 2013 with USL Pro side Orlando City, where he hit 22 goals in just 17 games, Dwyer returned to KC to rapidly morph into one of the league’s top finishers.

Later playing a crucial role in the club’s 2013 postseason run to MLS Cup success, the West Sussex-native trained with Charlton Athletic last winter ahead of a proposed loan move which failed to materialise, and was also linked to Brentford in August, but I would suggest he could more than hold his own one division higher.

Capable of playing through the middle or out wide, Dwyer is a confident finisher, blessed with a combination of pace, skill, strength and outstanding work rate, who is also extremely impressive in the air for a player that stands at 5ft 9in.

SKC have sold a number of first-teamers abroad in recent seasons, with Wigan Athletic’s Roger Espinoza, ex-Middlesbrough man Kei Kamara and Sporting Lisbon defensive midfielder Uri Rosell all moved on for a tidy profit, and their main man up top could well become the next to earn a big-money transfer to Europe.

Redknapp of course always has his favourite targets, such as Peter Crouch and Defoe, and it’s debatable he and his coaching staff are even aware of who Dwyer is at present, but this MLS star could certainly thrive at Loftus Road if given an opportunity down the road.

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