Jermain Defoe's mother was at the centre of the Toronto FC striker's failed bid to return to England at the transfer deadline, according to a report from the Toronto Sun.
It’s no secret that Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe came close to moving to Queens Park Rangers at the transfer deadline, but the details behind the failed switch have remained secretive until now.
Aged 32, Defoe has scored 11 goals in 19 MLS games since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur at the start of 2014 but, after a hot start, has spent large chunks of the season out injured, with the club’s hopes of a first-ever post-season appearance falling apart during a chaotic spell of poor results.
Widely reported to be angling for a return to England since ex-head coach Ryan Nelsen’s sacking in late-August, a hectic transfer deadline saga saw him jet back across the Atlantic admit reports of interest from the likes of QPR, Leicester, Newcastle and even Arsenal.
General manager Tim Bezbatchenko admitted at the time that the club had turned down a record bid for their £6 million man, despite a strong push from Defoe’s people to make a deal happen.
The Toronto Sun has now reported that the ex-Spurs man’s mother, Sandra St. Helen, was the main force working behind the scenes in an attempt to engineer a transfer, having grown disgruntled with life in Canada.
Understood to hold an ‘underestimated influence’ over Defoe, St. Helen entered talks with several London-based clubs over a potential move, and was one of the architects of QPR’s failed summer pursuit of her son, even agreeing to personal terms with the club without TFC’s knowledge.
The MLS side managed to hold off Premier League advances, but most still expect the England international to depart in the winter, having spoken this week about his uncertain future after being ruled out of the final match of the regular-season with an abdominal issue.
‘At the end of the day, I don’t know what the future holds,’ he was quoted on Sportsnet.ca. ‘But what I would say was that I was desperate to get into the playoffs, and it’s something I would love to experience, to be here and get this team into the playoffs.
‘Throughout my career I’ve never really been criticized about my commitment because I love football. … You read things [in the media] and social media is a powerful thing, and I try not to read it, but I’m only human. I want fans to like me and to realize that [I’m] committed to the club.
‘Sometimes I read things and I think, “Are they talking about me?” They must be getting the wrong impression of me. I know in my heart I’m committed.’
Nevertheless, with an announcement over his future expected to come from the club over the weekend, the chances of Defoe having made his final outing in a TFC shirt seem high at this point.