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Ryan Nelsen confirms Toronto FC’s interest in Jermain Defoe, good fit for MLS?

Oct 30, 2013, 7:45 AM EDT


Rumors surrounding the future of Tottenham Hotspur and England striker Jermain Defoe have been rife over the past few days, and these comments from Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen are likely to fuel the fire further.

Nelsen, who played alongside Defoe at Tottenham during a brief stint toward the end of his playing days, knows exactly what Defoe can do and admitted he’d love to bring the 31-year-old striker, who’s out of favor at Spurs, to BMO Field.

“That’s not a serious question, is it?” Nelsen said when asked on TSN about bringing in Defoe. “Jermain Defoe in this league? Look what [Marco] Di Vaio has done! My goodness – incredible player.”

And he’s right, can you really think of a player better suited to Major League Soccer than Defoe?

The pint-sized striker, who has scored 141 goals in 353 games for Spurs over two spells in his career, has only started one PL game this season and had been reduced to appearances in the Europa League and League Cup where he has scored eight goals in five games. An incredible ratio.

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His predatory instincts, as similar big name foreign imports like Marco Di Vaio and Robbie Keane have shown, would be perfect in MLS as he sniffs for openings in and around the box and hammers shots on target from every possible angle.

But Andre Villas-Boas doesn’t seem to think Defoe can be a starter in the PL for Spurs, something Nelsen clearly doesn’t agree with.

“One of the most natural goalscorers I have ever come across,” Nelsen said. “Always out training, always trying to score, a great guy. To get a guy like Defoe for the MLS, I cannot think of many that are more suited. I think if you ask most Premier League teams, they would take Defoe.”

source: Getty Images

Jermain Defoe keeps scoring in the Europa League and League Cup, but isn’t get a chance to shine in the PL. Does an MLS move beckon for the England international?

But would Defoe even contemplate joining Toronto and MLS ahead of what could be his last World Cup for England this summer?

You can look at it two ways. He could go out on loan in January and struggle to establish himself elsewhere in the PL, or he could come to MLS and begin play in March, play regularly right up until the World Cup and declare himself fighting fit, in form and hungry to succeed for Roy Hodgson’s England side in Brazil. The latter seems like the better idea, but maybe it’s too big of a gamble to take, especially as Hodgson seems somewhat lukewarm towards the pleasures of MLS.

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But Nelsen revealed that he keeps in touch with Defoe, and would love to bring him to MLS. Then again, which MLS side wouldn’t want him?

“It would be incredible,” Nelsen said. “I call him and text him all the time. Him playing in Toronto would be phenomenal. If you look around the world and try and think of a realistic player – and I am not sure how realistic he is – that complements a league like ours, never gets injured, doesn’t drink, can play high, low, scores all sorts of goals – do you know something I don’t? Can you go over and sell it to him?”

Not sure where this one ranks on the likelihood scale, but having Defoe in MLS would be divine.

  1. litepad - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Lets be honest.. If he signs for Toronto, his international career is over.

  2. jaxhotspur11 - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Comical. Defoe in MLS? He’still effective for Spurs. He’s getting plenty of game time. There’s at least a dozen PL teams that would love to have him if he were to leave Spurs. Why would he go to MLS now? Maybe in a couple years, but now? Not a chance.

    • lavatomy - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      I don’t see how it’s comical. Robbie Keane came to MLS at around the same age and I’m sure he had plenty of other options the PL.

    • charliej11 - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Why is it comical ?

      I looked it up Tottenham is in fourth with both Manchester teams below them.
      So, if he is limited playing time on a team that isn’t going to get to the Euro playoffs…why wouldn’t he leave ?

      Another name is coming to mind from Tottenham. Clint something or another. Dempsey maybe.

      One more thing….There are a dozen teams that would want many players in MLS. They don’t want to play for the losers. Tottenham/Everton is the lowest team where there is a chance you aren’t wasting away a career Altidore style.

  3. hildezero - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Yeah, he’s a good fit for MLS, but not for Toronto. I mean, c’mon… Toronto?…

  4. danielofthedale - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    It comes down to have professional he is and how competitive he is. The biggest gamble is that TFC pays him a few million and he just shows up to cash a check which a lot of the DPs have done. The ones that work, the Henry, Keane, Beckham, Blanco, GBS all had that burning desire to win and put in the work to make it happen.

    • overtherepermanently - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Defoe is a pro. I don’t think he’d mail it in.

      • danielofthedale - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        I am inclined to agree with you, its just that I am not Spurs fan so I don’t really know much about him besides what he shows on the field. The fact that he kills in the Europa League when some guys my half-a$$ it a bit is a good sign.

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