4 Reasons Why A Jermain Defoe Transfer from Spurs to Toronto Would Be a Smart Move

While the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas is the Tottenham story making the most noise in England at the moment, another important development at Spurs is the potential move of Jermain Defoe to Major League Soccer’s struggling side Toronto FC.  Toronto, managed by former Defoe teammate and long-time English Premier League defender Ryan Nelson, is set to make the 31 year-old Spurs striker the highest paid player in the history of top flight football in North America.

The simple question then begs itself — why Jermain Defoe?

The answers are more varied than one might think.  Toronto is the most cosmopolitan and diverse city in North America. And while European soccer has become more popular around the continent of North America, its beachhead is in Toronto. This means a footballer like Defoe, perhaps anonymous to many casual or new-found fans of the game, will be well known in Toronto.

No player in Premier League history has scored more goals coming off the bench than Defoe. Not Teddy Sheringham, not Ole Gunnar Solskjær, not Edin Dzeko. In fact Defoe is still scoring goals with great regularity when given the chance to play regularly.

Listen: Hear our exclusive interview with Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe.

Toronto FC has a robust supporter’s base but have yet to qualify for the MLS Playoffs. For the first five years of the franchise’s existence, TFC had higher average ticket prices than all but the top English clubs. Following another failed season in 2012, the organization rolled back ticket prices but more empty red seats are being seen at BMO Field on a weekly basis during the MLS season. While MLS counts tickets distributed as attendance, Toronto FC no longer meets the eye test for crowd numbers. What was a full stadium for many years is now a partially empty one even if the attendance on paper is similar.

A player like Defoe, an exciting goal scoring Englishman, can serve TFC in four different ways if he signs.

1. Defoe would score goals, something Toronto FC badly needs to finally break out of the doldrums.

2. As an Englishman and a Premier League star, Defoe appeals to the cosmopolitan nature of Toronto and its fan base.

3. Ticket prices, while lower than previously, remain very high for TFC. Defoe’s signing unlike those of previous failed DPs will show the organization is finally attempting to win and reinvest the ticket revenue in the playing squad.

4. Spurs and West Ham both have lots of long-term support in the Toronto area. Defoe logically connects directly with this supporter base, many of whom have yet to embrace TFC.

I do not see a whole lot of downside to the Defoe signing for Toronto. What I do however wonder is if his England career is over should he sign to MLS. With promising young starlets like Danny Sturridge, Jay Rodrgiuez and Danny Welbeck recently breaking into the England setup, perhaps Defoe wasn’t headed to Brazil anyway. But if he signs to MLS, that would all but seal his fate with Roy Hodgson, one must assume.

For Major League Soccer, the possible signing of Defoe could be great news, signaling a willingness to spend money in the transfer market and bring players who, while not world-class, have a following in the markets they are moving to.

Editor’s note: Read the latest Spurs news, analysis and opinion on the Tottenham Hotspur team page.

8 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why A Jermain Defoe Transfer from Spurs to Toronto Would Be a Smart Move”

  1. Of course, who wouldn’t want to go and play for the worst professional football team in the history of the game?

    I hear the goal for Toronto FC next season is to win even less games than last season.

  2. There’s one more benefit to this deal, for Defoe:

    Once TFC strikers get kicked out, they enjoy a fantastic run of form for their next club.

    He’ll burn a season now, but reap the rewards of a revived career for a few more to come.


  3. There’s a huge downside for Defoe at the moment. He needs to wait and see if he features in the new manager’s plans. If it’s Sherwood through the rest of the season he should probably stay put.

  4. The reasons you give all benefit Toronto, not Defoe, except he might score more goals. Given West Ham are looking for a striker, he’ll move back there in the January window. A move to MLS will kiss is England career goodbye and I doubt he is willing to do that just yet. England are weak up front and he still has a chance to go to Brazil.

  5. While agreed that MLS is not a top league, one could argue that it be on par with mid-table Championship and far better than League 1 or lower, give us a break we do not have the history that many other leagues may have, but remember they were once infants as well. We are in a salary capped league, which has it’s benefits but also has it limitations.


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