Jermain Defoe WILL still be a Sunderland player after the January transfer window, with Sam Allardyce branding persistent speculation over the striker’s exit as “complete rubbish”.
Defoe tops Sunderland goalscoring charts this season with nine goals in all competitions - including a priceless brace in last weekend’s basement battle win over Aston Villa.
But the 33-year-old has been consistently linked with the exit door over recent months, most notably to Sunderland’s relegation rivals Bournemouth, where he spent time on loan as a teenager.
However, Sunderland boss Allardyce has dismissed the rumours over Defoe’s future, along with reports that the Black Cats are in the running for West Ham frontman Andy Carroll.
Allardyce told the Echo: “It’s complete rubbish, it’s the same with the Andy Carroll stuff.
“Thank God, West Ham have come out and said Carroll is not for sale, and it’s the same for me with Jermain.
“It was seen that Jermain couldn’t play as a central striker, without someone playing alongside him.
“But we are doing that in the hope that he’ll be successful.
“It was successful last weekend, we won the game, he got two goals and was an inch or two off getting three.
“We know we’ve got to play a different type of football to Jermain than if Steven Fletcher or Danny Graham was up there.
“The players have to adjust to that and at the end of what we create, he’ll score goals.”
Bournemouth were linked with Defoe during the summer, before Cherries boss Eddie Howe eventually said the England international was not a target.
And while Defoe’s future has been the subject of speculation in this window, Allardyce says Sunderland haven’t even received an offer for the ex-Spurs frontman.
Allardyce added: “We haven’t had a bid for him, for one, and I suppose if I had had a bid for him, I’d have probably turned it down - unless it was that big a bid that the owner had told me, ‘This bid is so big, Sam, that we can’t afford to turn it down’, and every club has that scenario.
“But no, we haven’t had a bid for Jermain and no, we don’t want to sell him.”