England striker, who is likely to be loaned back to Spurs until the end of March, has been told that more regular football in the build-up to the World Cup could be valuable
Jermain Defoe is on the brink of joining Toronto FC in Major League Soccer, with the Canadian club hoping to formally unveil the England striker as early as Monday.
Roy Hodgson, the England manager, is understood to have discussed the move with Defoe and, although it is unlikely to help his longer-term international prospects, more regular football in the build-up to the World Cup could be valuable.
Defoe has become peripheral at Tottenham, with new head coach Tim Sherwood generally starting with both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado in attack.
It is expected that Defoe will agree a deal worth around £90,000 a week and that Tottenham will be paid around £6 million for a 31-year-old player who has only 18 months remaining on his contract.
It is also likely that Tottenham and Toronto will agree a loan-back option that will mean Defoe remains at Spurs until the middle of March before travelling to Canada ahead of the start of the MLS season.
Toronto are managed by Ryan Nelsen, the former Tottenham defender, who has described Defoe as “one of the most natural goalscorers” he has ever seen.
His arrival would also underline the ambition of Tim Leiweke’s Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, the company which owns Toronto FC. Leiweke also helped bring David Beckham to Los Angeles Galaxy.
The likely loss of Defoe will only harden Tottenham determination to keep club record signing Erik Lamela, despite his apparent desire to move back to Italy this month.
Lamela’s father was quoted on ESPN saying that his son is “not happy” at Spurs and would like to return to Serie A. Tottenham, though, remain adamant that Lamela will not be leaving this month either permanently or on loan.
Lamela was signed from Roma – the former club of technical director Franco Baldini – for £30 million last summer but there was always an expectation that he would need time to settle in the Premier League.
Sherwood is not pushing for new signings, although the club will explore replacements for Defoe with Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic and Rubin Kazan’s Jose Salomon Rondon regarded as options.
“I don’t think we need players here,” said Sherwood. “We need to get them fit, the ones we have got, and then if anyone springs up who could really make us better, our 11, then possibly we will go in.”