Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed Jermain Defoe’s transfer to Toronto FC at the end of February.
Defoe’s long-awaited move to Major League Soccer was given the kiss of approval by Spurs over Twitter, noting that the striker’s deal will take effect on February 28, 2014.
The England international arrived at White Hart Lane from West Ham United in February 2004. Four years later he joined Portsmouth but Defoe was back as a Lillywhite one year later. Having played a total of 362 matches for the North London outfit, Defoe scored 142 goals.
Defoe spoke about his move to Tottenham’s official website: “Everybody knows how much this club means to me and I will play my heart out for the team and the fans until my last kick for the club. I have had a fantastic time here and the fans have always been amazing to me.
“I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my family to experience living overseas and for me to play in the MLS with a contract that will take me to the age of 35. I have no doubt I shall be coming back as a fan supporting the team in the years to come too.”
Meanwhile, Spurs manager Tim Sherwood assured fans that Defoe’s departure would not leave the squad thin in the attacking department.
“This is a great opportunity for Jermain and he feels it is one that he wishes to pursue. He has played a big part in the club for many years and we all know he will give his best until his last minute in a Spurs shirt.
“We have several attacking options within our squad for the remaining dozen or so games of the season after Jermain departs and we shall keep our options under review.
“We also have a goal threat from players in other areas of the pitch including having wide players and attacking midfielders who will enable us to vary our shape when required.”
As part of the deal, Spurs will play a preseason friendly against Toronto on July 23. The club has also agreed to an advertising and marketing rights deal with Toronto owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.