Toronto FC mean business in 2014.
Less than 24 hours after Italian powers AS Roma announced the transfer of US international Michael Bradley to MLS and presumably TFC, Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on Friday morning announced that England international Jermain Defoe has also been transferred to the Reds, effective February 28.
"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," the 31-year-old Defoe said in a statement on TottenhamHotspur.com.
Toronto FC confirmed later Friday morning that the two sides have come to terms on a deal.
“We are thrilled, for our club and for our fans, with the opportunity to bring a global football superstar like Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC,” Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president & CEO Tim Leiweke said in a statement. “We promised our fans in October that building a winning club was our top priority and we scoured the globe to find the right players to fulfill that promise. Right from the beginning of this process, Jermain Defoe was the top player on our list and we got our man.
"We would like to thank Tottenham as well as MLSE ownership for this very clear demonstration of our commitment to winning. Most importantly, we want to thank Toronto FC fans for their patience and support getting to this day.”
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Defoe started his career at West Ham, before a 2004 move to Tottenham, where he has scored 142 goals. The goal haul for Spurs has seen Defoe become a regular call-up to the England national squad, earning 55 caps and scoring 19 goals for the Three Lions.
The last of nine matches Defoe is eligible to play for Tottenham before his TFC arrival will be the February 27 Europa League home game vs. Dnipro. Toronto FC kick off their 2014 MLS regular season at the Seattle Sounders on March 15 (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
Unlike AS Roma did on Thursday, Tottenham did not release the total of the transfer fee, which has been reported at $9.8 million, roughly the same as the Bradley transfer fee revealed to be $10 million.
As part of the transfer agreement between the two clubs, Tottenham, Toronto FC and MLSE will enter into a groundbreaking, four-year Advertising Rights Agreement. The deal will see Toronto FC and MLSE provide promotional and branding opportunities, experiential activities and advertising, broadcasting, social media and digital rights across all of MLSE’s properties and media platforms. Additionally, MLSE will carry Tottenham Hotspur FC official merchandise at their retail outlets, as well as support the THFC Official Canadian Supporter's Club.
According to the London-based club, they will also meet TFC in a summer friendly on July 23 in Toronto as part of Tottenham's North American tour which will see them play MLS sides Seattle Sounders (July 19) and the Chicago Fire (July 26).