Amidst quite a bit of transfer speculation, Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe has come out to say he’s committed to his MLS side.
The commotion began after Toronto declined an $11 million offer for Defoe made by Queens Park Rangers towards the close of the summer transfer window.
Since then a number of other English clubs have been rumored to be interested in Defoe and the player’s presence in England over the last few weeks – where he was recovering from a groin injury – did him no favors.
“I never came out anywhere and said I wanted to leave,” Defoe told reporters. “In England [transfer speculation] is normal. … At the end of the day, I’m still a TFC player and I’m totally committed to the cause.”
But how committed is he, exactly?
Not very, it appears. Last month Tim Leiweke, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, noted that he doesn’t expect Defoe to return next season. And on Wednesday, Defoe did little to dispel that notion.
“That’s out of my control. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. All I can say to the fans is that I’m fully committed, and looking forward to getting back and looking forward to this playoff push,” Defoe said.
As for the speculation from English clubs, Defoe called that normal.
“For me it was normal. Especially when the transfer window opens, it doesn’t matter what club I’m at, there’s always been speculation about my future—‘is he going to stay or is he going to go?’ For me this [was a case] of ‘here we go again.’ I didn’t pay too much attention to it because my main focus was trying to get fit,” Defoe said.
He later added: “The [transfer bid by QPR] is out of my control. If a club comes in for a player then as a player you sit back and let your team deal with it. It’s not my fault that a club [makes a transfer offer]. … In my heart, I didn’t think anything was going to happen anyway.”
So where does this leave Defoe and Toronto?
Pretty much the same place as before Defoe spoke out. The striker, who signed a four-year deal with the club, will finish out the 2014 season once he returns from injury, with most presuming he’ll be ready for the October 4th away match to L.A. Galaxy. A playoff push will ensue with Toronto only three points adrift of fifth-place Columbus in the Eastern Conference but at this time holding out hopes for his presence in 2015 feels like wasted energy.