Jermain Defoe admitted that while he is committed to Toronto FC this season, a move away could be on the cards at the end of the current MLS campaign.
Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers may have been given fresh hope in any January pursuit of Jermain Defoe, after the striker admitted he could leave Toronto FC come the end of the current season.
The MLS season is due to conclude in December but with the Canadian soccer franchise off the pace in the race for a play-off spot, Defoe’s post-season schedule could be clear.
And while the 32-year-old is keen to impress during the final few months of the campaign, a press conference held this week saw the forward hint at a potential move away from BMO Field.
Speaking on Wednesday, the former England international began by committing himself to the Toronto cause before seemingly suggesting that he may not return for the 2015 MLS Season
"I never came out anywhere and said I wanted to leave. In England [transfer speculation] is normal. … At the end of the day, I’m still a TFC player and I’m totally committed to the cause," he told reporters.
"...I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. All I can say to the fans is that I’m fully committed, and looking forward to getting back and looking forward to this playoff push," he added.
Speculation surrounding Defoe’s future has intensified since the departure of Toronto manager and friend Ryan Nelsen, following a series of poor results.
Nelsen was thought to be a key factor in convincing the striker to move to the MLS franchise – a transfer that ultimately saw him miss out on a place at the World Cup with England.
Harry Redknapp has made no secret of his desire to recruit Defoe, the striker he worked with at West Ham and later signed while manager of Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur.
QPR are still desperate to recruit a top-level striker after also failing to complete a late move for Liverpool’s Fabio Borini.
Alan Pardew’s pre-existing relationship with the ex-West Ham academy man was also cited as a major reason why the Newcastle gaffer is keen to bring the forward to St James’ Park, with the Magpies also lacking an experienced Premier League goalscorer.
Much could ultimately depend on whether Toronto are successful in mounting a late play-off push, with any post-season success potentially changing Defoe’s perception of life in Ontario.
Take a look at Defoe in action for Toronto - could he still score goals regularly in the Premier League?