Jermain Defoe to Sunderland: Veteran’s stance on future, Rangers exit reason, ‘special’ comment

The veteran forward is a free agent after announcing his Ibrox exit.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 11:00 am

Jermain Defoe. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

It remains to be seen where Jermain Defoe’s next destination will be following his departure from Rangers.

The 39-year-old established himself as a popular figure in Glasgow, hitting 32 goals in 74 games for the Scottish champions, but confirmed his exit from Ibrox earlier in the week.

Since then, there have been growing calls from many Sunderland fans for their club to try and bring him back to Wearside.

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Defoe spent two-and-a-half years in the north east, scoring 37 times in 93 outings, making firm friends with young supporter Bradley Lowery, and cementing his place as a firm favourite of the Black Cats’ fanbase.

The veteran hitman has several potential options open to him as he plans his next move in the professional game, and has already delivered some hints about his intentions going forward.

What has Defoe said about his future plans?

While Defoe is yet to provide any concrete indication on his next move, the striker has been open about his desire to keep on playing.

Speaking to talkSPORT about his exit from Rangers, as quoted by the Scottish Sun, he said: “It was an honest conversation with the manager [Giovanni van Bronckhorst] , do you want to play or do you want to coach?

“Coming at it from a different culture he probably just thought: ‘what do you want to do? Do you want to play or do you want to coach?

“And I said, gaffer I want to play, because that was always my plan from the beginning, while doing my coaching badges.

“I said I finished the season strong and I feel sharp, and he said he saw that I did a full pre-season so I am ready to play, to be honest.

“I have had loads of phone calls but like I said from the start of my season my plan is to continue playing until the end of the season and see what happens then.

“No disrespect to anyone else up there, but every day in training I felt I was playing with the best players in this league. So there’s no need to stop just because I am 39, you stop when the body tells you to stop.”

What has Defoe said about Sunderland?

Again, Defoe is yet to make direct reference to Sunderland since he announced his departure from Ibrox, but has made no secret of his love for the club since he left in 2017.

Speaking about his famous Tyne-Wear derby goal against Newcastle United during a 2018 interview with ESPN, as quoted by the Chronicle, he said: “I cried on the pitch when that goal went in.

“I had to cover my face when I walked down the tunnel because of it.

“Sunderland was special for me. Football means so much to the fans up there and that game, I just knew I had to make a difference.

“As soon as the ball left my foot, I knew it was in, but I think the tears were because of the relief of scoring such an important goal for the club.”

Defoe tipped for League One move

Defoe has already been tipped for a potential move to League One - albeit to Sunderland’s divisional rivals Charlton Athletic.

The striker was on the Addicks’ books as a youth player, and former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has claimed that a return to The Valley would make sense.

Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “Football is built upon relationships, and he [Defoe] played at Tottenham with [Charlton manager] Johnnie Jackson, and I assume that there’s still a relationship there.

“I think it might be an interesting move if coming back to London is on his agenda to go to Charlton. Now I realise it’s League One, it’s not necessarily where Jermain might want to play, but he is 39 years of age.

“He’s not going to play in the Premier League, with the greatest respect, he might struggle at times to get a full-time gig in the Championship, just purely and simply because it’s a hard and fast division.

“Building a career and a management career, coaching career and going into a project with Thomas Sandgaard and with Johnnie Jackson currently in situ, it kind of feels like it might be a fit there.”