Toronto FC is in talks to send striker Jermain Defoe to a European team before Monday's transfer deadline, general manager Tim Bezbatchenko told the Toronto Star on Sunday.
The news that Defoe might be moved came on the heels of the firing of head coach Ryan Nelsen and all of his assistants. Several outlets have reported that Premier League side QPR is interested in Defoe.
“I want to confirm that we’re in talks,” Bezbatchenko said Sunday. “We have a relationship with Jermain, too. We’re speaking with him and we’ll make a decision. No decision has been made. We’ll discuss it over the next 24 hours.”
“I don’t think he necessarily does [want to leave], but this is for everyone: If you’re not 100 per cent committed (to) what we’re doing, then we have to sit down and talk and figure out what’s the best plan of action,” the general manager said.
The 31-year-old Defoe joined Toronto in February after spending five seasons with Tottenham Hotspur. He was acquired around the same time as U.S. international Michael Bradley and Brazil's Gilberto in an effort to turn the club into a contender.
Defoe leads Toronto with 11 goals this season but has dealt with nagging injuries, including a current groin injury that could keep him out until the end of September.
Defoe has scored 163 total goals over 443 appearances over his club career. He has also made 55 appearances and scored 19 goals internationally for England.
Toronto entered Monday tied for third in the MLS Eastern Conference. The team hasn't made the playoffs in its seven years of existence.
- Ben Estes