Jermain Defoe discusses potential return to West Ham

Jermain Defoe of Bournemouth poses with the trophy for Carling Premier League Goal of the Month for December 2017 on January 11, 2018 in Bournemouth, England.

The striker is an unpopular figure amongst West Ham United fans.

Jermain Defoe of Sunderland (c) is interviewed as former striker Niall Quinn (l) looks on after the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on...

Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe spoke exclusively to the Express, and declared that West Ham fans would accept him back at the club, if he ever rejoined the Hammers.

Defoe, 35, is a hate-figure in east London after immediately handing in a transfer request following West Ham's relegation in the 2002/03 season.

Jermain Defoe of Bournemouth poses with the trophy for Carling Premier League Goal of the Month for December 2017 on January 11, 2018 in Bournemouth, England.

He eventually left for Tottenham in January 2004, a switch that made him even more unpopular with the Hammers fanbase.

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The striker has gone on to forge an exceptional career in the game, scoring 272 goals for six different clubs.

Despite the fact that Defoe will be 36 in October, he has kept himself in great shape, and he will likely carry on playing at the highest level for a few more years.

The 57-capped England international spoke exclusively to the Express, and refused to rule out a return to West Ham, claiming that the fans would welcome him back with open arms:

Jermain Defoe of Sunderland applauds the fans as he is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane on January 17, 2015...

"If I ever sign for West Ham again, of course they will forgive me. There’s been speculation and stuff and I thought it was going to happen when I was at Sunderland. In my last year at Sunderland I got a call and there was some interest. On social media literally all the West Ham fans were like ‘come back, come back’. That was always quite interesting because when I play against West Ham I get a lot of stick which you can understand but I don’t know. If you are a goalscorer, people appreciate you.”

Defoe is under contract with Bournemouth until the summer of 2020, but it is unclear as to whether they would be interested in selling the striker to a direct Premier League rival.

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