West Ham United target Jermain Defoe and Sunderland boss David Moyes play down transfer talk

Jermain Defoe says there will always be transfer speculation given his goalscoring record but insists he is happy and enjoying his football at Sunderland.

Friday, 30th December 2016, 9:12 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:11 pm
Jermain Defoe in action for Sunderland.

It comes as West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has refused to rule out a January move for Defoe - who Sunderland boss David Moyes has no intention of selling after labelling him 'priceless.'

The Hammers have been strongly linked with a £6million move to bring Defoe back to the club when the window opens next week.

But the 34-year-old striker has played down talk of a transfer and says he is not distracted by the speculation.

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Defoe told Sky Sports News HQ: "There's going to be speculation because, let's be honest, the people that score goals are wanted.

"Over the years, anyone that has scored goals has been talked about in terms of moving to different clubs.

"I think it's just part and parcel. The players don't really get involved; you just get your head down and you play football.

"It's a good feeling to be wanted but when you're playing well and scoring goals then you must be enjoying being at the place you're at."

Bilic was asked about the speculation at his pre-match press conference and described Defoe as a "very good player" and praised his goalscoring record and movement on the pitch.

Moyes has previously told the Echo that eight-goal top scorer Defoe is not for sale as he is too important to the club's survival hopes.

And the Scot again insisted Defoe - who signed a new deal in the summer - is going nowhere when asked about the latest speculation at his pre-match press conference.

Moyes said: "I’m comfortable with other people talking about him.

"I think his stats show he’s something like the best British goalscorer this year, so it’s going to happen. I would expect people to be paying attention.

"But I’ve never had contact from anybody.

"He doesn’t go. He’s under contract and he stays here.

"I think he has an affinity for this club and we need his goals, he’s vital to us.

"That’s probably why we’ve climbed the table. Victor Anichebe has improved us and Jordan Pickford’s goalkeeping has been brilliant but Jermain’s goalscoring is key and there’s hardly a team in the Premier League that wouldn’t want him and his goals.

"We have someone who is a real good goalscorer, reliable, tends to get his goals through the season.

"And that’s where one or two other teams around us might not have that sort of striker and we have to use him, get the ball to him and get the ball to him in the right areas as often as we can.

"Because he signed a new contract in the summer there’s no need to look at it.

"When you look at players in their 30s you probably only look at a one-year contract in most cases and then keep renewing it.

"That’s what I did with Sylvain Distin at Everton - I kept giving him a one-year contract and then rolled it over for about four years, in which he was fantastic in every one of them.

"I think that’s the way you go - you get four or five-year contracts for youngsters – but we have Jermain for the next year-and-a-half and that’s great for us.

"Players can get their heads turned, that happens in football. But I’ve not seen Slaven’s words, I’ve had no phone calls and there’s no need for us to talk or worry about it."