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If Jermain Defoe is still en route to Toronto, when will the England international get here?

Dec 16, 2013, 6:22 PM EDT

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The Toronto Sun continues to insist that England international Jermain Defoe is still in the mix to be Toronto FC’s big, Designated Player signing. (In terms of landing the seriously big fish, Defoe is a whopper compared to Gilberto Oliveira Souza Junior, the 24-year-old Brazilian forward announced late last week.)

The newspaper even goes so far as to say that signing the Spurs striker is “sure to be the biggest off-season move MLS-wide –both financially and tactically.”

Could well be, too.

But the impediment may be Defoe’s understandable desire to be in England’s squad for Brazil. That’s on every soccer player’s ultimate wish list, obviously.

And doesn’t that seem to put Toronto in a pickle?

Defoe does jeopardize his standing with England manager Roy Hodgson by moving out of London (and out of one of the world’s top leagues) for MLS. That is sure to give the man pause.

It’s easy to just say “Defoe would join Toronto after the World Cup” and move on. But give that a bit of thought – and then ask yourself if spending lavishly on a guy who can’t or won’t join MLS until August is really the best thing?

By early August, MLS will be about 22 rounds through a 34-round season. You know where Toronto was after 22 rounds last year?

A humbling 3-10-8 record, ninth out of 10 teams in the East, 13 points out of playoff positioning. Even if we think that a guy with good-not-great name recognition, and a man who hasn’t gotten regular starts at Tottenham for some time, is worth the talked-about $10 million transfer fee, he’s surely not worth all that for a third of the season.

And especially not if Toronto is too far out of the playoff race for his goals to even matter.

Defoe is a talent, and he could bring something to MLS.

But I’m still not convinced this is going to happen. Or if it should happen, even, given the tricky timing elements involved.

  1. premadonna - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    “…is worth the talked-about $10 million transfer fee, he’s surely not worth all that for a third of the season.”

    The rumor says that it’s a 4-year contract. Who cares if he spends the first few months in Europe.

  2. mvktr2 - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    I fully concur Steve. I also hope the transfer fee isn’t 10 mil, hopefully it’s more in the 5-7.5 mil range which is what I think hes worth on a good day. I suspect it’ll take more than he’s truly worth because he’s an englishman in his home country moving to MLS, then it’s a matter of what’s he worth to TFC?

    As for the timing it just isn’t worth it if he’s joining in August. If I’m TFC I’m fine with him joining 10-14 days before MLS kickoff say Feb 23rd. At that you’re talking about him being in MLS for roughly 2.5 months prior to the WC. That being the case it simply isn’t enough to ‘degrade’ his talents in most manager’s eyes, but who knows.

    Bottom line MLS doesn’t need to beg players to come here and there are plenty of very talented Argentinians, Brazilians, Uruguayans, etc whom would love playing in the US for quality of life issues and whom can be gotten for substantially less but for VERY similar or even better production. Heck I watch the Columbus Crew just to watch Higuain.

  3. mvktr2 - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Yes I know I’m comparing a striker to creator. Higuain’s transfer rate was reportedly $650,000. Is there any possibility that Defoe is more important and impactful for TFC than Federico is for Columbus? Believe me I’ve got no problem with teams shelling out money and actually want more DP slots. I have issues when players:
    A – may not be worth the money comparatively speaking.
    B – have more important issues to deal with than playing for the club that pays millions for their services. This could be construed as being similar to Beckham when he first arrived.

  4. hildezero - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Well, I haven’t heard anything from Defoe or his camp, which probably means he won’t come here soon. I think he’ll come in the summer time after the World Cup.

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