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Report: Jermain Defoe transfer set for Toronto FC of MLS

Nov 26, 2013, 7:07 PM EDT

Defoe

Considering the first reports of a headline-making Jermaine Defoe move to Toronto FC came out of The Mirror in England, I wouldn’t rush out to purchase any Defoe-emblazoned Reds’ jerseys from the BMO gift shop.

That doesn’t mean it won’t happen; I’m just advising a short waiting period, or something like that.

Reports have the England striker, who has long been stretched for getting regular starts at Tottenham, moving in the January transfer window. And the reported price? A whopping $9.7 million, which would make him the most expensive MLS transfer to date. That price (again … “initial reports” are frequently flawed, so keep that in mind) would trump the MLS record fee of $9 million, the sum shelled out last summer for Clint Dempsey.

(Coincidentally, that previous sum went to Tottenham as well, as Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas suddenly has quite the little pipeline of Don Garber Bucks flowing, doesn’t he?)

We could all be more skeptical about this (in fact, I would even advise skepticism) but for one big point: Tim Leiweke is in charge at BMO.

Leiweke was the architect of the David Beckham deal in Los Angeles. Earlier this year Leiweke took over as president and CEO of TFC’s ownership group, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. And as he assumed the post, Leiweke promised splashy signings.

(MORE: Toronto FC — where tantalizing transfer news goes to die)

Defoe, at 31 years old, checks a lot of the boxes that Leiweke laid out as he promised signings that would resonate with fans, but would also makes sense from a competitive standpoint.

It’s also certainly true that Defoe is looking for the escape hatch at White Hart Lane, where Villas-Boas (now teetering on the brink of unemployment – although that’s another story) has made such extensive use of pricey summer signing Roberto Soldado.

Reports have indicated West Ham and Championship side Queens Park Rangers were set to include themselves among the January pursuers for Defoe.

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