Sunderland's Jermain Defoe looks dejected
Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has hinted that he could leave the club if they suffer relegation to the Championship this season, as quoted by The Mirror.
Defoe, 34, has enjoyed another prolific Premier League campaign, smashing 14 goals in 28 appearances to give Sunderland hope of surviving the drop.
Saturday's 0-0 draw with Burnley does however leave the Black Cats seven points adrift of safety, with relegation to the Championship looking more and more likely having won just one of the last ten Premier League games.
Whilst Sunderland are struggling, Defoe continues to thrive; his goals this season, coupled with injuries to other players, have seen him earn a recall to the England squad, having been named in Gareth Southgate's squad to face Germany and Lithuania.
After hitting 15 goals last season, Defoe has again proven that he can still score goals in the top flight despite his advancing years, but his England call-up could lead him to make a big decision on his future.
Speaking to The Mirror, Defoe has suggested that he could leave Sunderland if they are relegated to the Championship, as having been left out of the England squad during his time with Toronto in Major League Soccer, he knows he needs to play in the top flight to keep his place with the Three Lions.
“Obviously you have to be realistic and to get into any squad it is based on merit and you need to be playing at the top level,” said Defoe. “When I went to Toronto (in MLS in early 2014) I missed out on going to the World Cup and it was a hard call to take. I would say I probably need to be playing in the Premier League but we will see what happens.”
“The boys I'm competing against are playing in the Premier League and playing in Europe and probably that's why I missed out on the last World Cup. You probably need to be playing in the Premier League,” he added.
Sunderland's Jermain Defoe
Defoe's comments will spark fears among Sunderland fans, given that he has scored over half of their goals this season, but they could be just what West Ham United wanted to hear.
The Hammers failed with a £6million bid to re-sign Defoe in January (BBC Sport), with Sunderland refusing to sell – but if they come back with a similar offer in the summer, then a return to East London could be back on the cards.
Defoe made his name with West Ham as a youngster, scoring 41 times in 105 games before joining London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in 2004, and Slaven Bilic clearly wanted to bring him back to the club in January.
That deal didn't go through, but Sunderland's seemingly imminent relegation and Defoe's desire to play in the Premier League should reignite West Ham's interest, given how desperate they are for a proven goalscorer.
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