With Jermain Defoe remaining coy on his future at Toronto FC, most signs seem to point towards the 32-year-old striker leaving MLS this winter.
Arriving from Tottenham Hotspur at the start of 2014 to high expectations, Defoe scored 11 times in his first 13 games for Toronto, but a nagging groin issue saw him make just five further goalless appearances from July onwards, as the club missed out on a first-ever playoff spot after a disastrous meltdown.
Widely reported to be angling for a return to the Premier League since Ryan Nelsen’s sacking as head coach in late-August, an article in the Globe and Mail claimed the Englishman had sent a text to his former Spurs teammate hours after his departure with the ominous message: ‘If you’re gone, I’m gone.’
Back in England rehabbing his groin at the time, that led to a hectic transfer deadline saga, with the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Leicester, Newcastle and even Arsenal all reported to be chasing his signature.
General manager Tim Bezbatchenko admitted following the close of the window that the club had turned down a record bid for their £6 million marquee signing but, with talks over his future due to held in the coming weeks, few anticipate him being back at BMO Field in 2015.
QPR boss Harry Redknapp has express his desire on several occasions already to reunite with the unsettled front man but, with an £8 million-plus, £90,000 per-week deal rumoured, there are numerous reasons both the Hoops and other potential suitors should reconsider an approach.
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Considering his age, Defoe’s recent injury troubles are guaranteed to only worsen from this point on, while his strike-rate in MLS masks the fact that his performances have been wasteful and often uninspiring, with teammate Gilberto standing out as the more impressive and dangerous option up top for TFC.
For what English clubs would have to fork over, there are several other US-based options, such as compatriot Dow Dwyer, Erick Torres and Joao Plata, who are younger, would come cheaper and provide just as much, if not more, impact than the ex-West Ham United and Portsmouth stalwart.
Defoe could undoubtedly provide a team with a certain spark but, if a manager thinks they are getting the leading man who once scored 18 top-flight goals in a season, then serious disappointment is in store with that rumoured price tag.
Spending such a significant fee on someone who is in decline and more suited to be a Premier League backup moving forward would be a sure sign of both poor scouting and desperation.