London (AFP) – Veteran England striker Jermain Defoe signed for Premier League side Bournemouth on a free transfer on Thursday the club announced on its website.
The 34-year-old — who scored 15 goals in the Premier League for Sunderland last season and was able to leave for free as he had an escape clause in his contract should they be relegated — signed a three year contract and said he is delighted to be returning to one of his former clubs.
“It’s great to be back and I’m really looking forward to this challenge,” said Defoe, who has been capped 57 times and scored 20 goals for his country.
“When the opportunity came about to return to AFC Bournemouth I just knew it was the right one.
“It was an easy decision, joining a top team with a top manager. It’s a great place to be.
“The Bournemouth fans know that every time I pull the shirt on I will give 100 per cent, and the one thing I can guarantee is goals.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, whose stature has grown in the game in defying the odds to maintain his club’s Premier League status in the two seasons they have been amongst the elite, said Defoe’s signing signified how much the club’s ambitions had grown.
“This a huge moment for the football club and another step in the right direction,” said Howe.
“We want to bring players here who can have a big impact on our continued rise and we believe Jermain fits that as a natural, proven goal scorer.
“We have known him for a long time, since working with him as a young pro and playing with him.
“I have followed his career and am delighted to say he is going to be playing for AFC Bournemouth again.”
Defoe, who also numbers West Ham, Tottenham (twice) and Portsmouth among his other clubs, had been at Sunderland since 2015 after a spell in Major League Soccer with Toronto FC.
Defoe, who spent the 2000/01 season at Bournemouth on loan when they were in the third tier scoring 18 goals in 29 league appearances, also became known last season as one half of a very special duet.
He formed a special relationship with terminally ill Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery with Defoe saying it had been the highlight of his season — adding he would carry on spending as much time with the six-year-old as possible despite the distance between Sunderland and Bournemouth.