As West Ham United interest cools where will Sunderland ace Jermain Defoe end up this summer?

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is in demand this summer

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is in demand this summer

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Bournemouth remain front-runners to land Jermain Defoe on a free this summer with West Ham United's interest in the Sunderland striker cooling.

Relegated Sunderland are bracing themselves for a major overhaul with top scorer Defoe among those set to leave Wearside.

The 15-goal striker has a clause in his Sunderland contract that allows him to leave on a free this summer following the club's relegation to the Championship.

Defoe turns 35 in October but despite his advancing years he remains in peak physical condition and will be one of the most sought-after players on the market this summer.

Bournemouth remain front-runners to land his signature, with the Cherries willing to meet his wage demands with Defoe also in line for a hefty signing on fee given he will be available on a free.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe is a huge fan of the England international, who made his breakthrough on loan at Dean Court early in his career.

Defoe has been one of the few highlights of a desperate season, his form winning him an England recall, with the striker scoring at Wembley in the 2-0 win over Lithuania in March.

Speaking in March, Howe would not be drawn on a potential move but talked up the experienced striker.

Howe said: "It is difficult to say (how many suitors Defoe will have if he becomes available) because it is all hypothetical, but I imagine there will be a lot of people interested in him.

"He is a player we respect but he is a Sunderland player at this present moment."

West Ham United and Crystal Palace have also been heavily linked with a summer swoop for Defoe but the Daily Telegraph report interest from the Hammers in Defoe has cooled.

Slaven Bilic attempted to land Defoe in January with a £6million bid - rejected by Sunderland as they were still battling the drop at that point - and fresh reports say West Ham won't be entering the race to sign him this summer with the club moving on to other targets.

Defoe missed the season finale at Stamford Bridge with a hamstring strain.