SUNDERLAND are hopeful of sealing a move for Jermain Defoe, but it is expected to be at least another 24 hours before they finalise any deal for the ex-Spurs striker.
Reports today claimed that Sunderland had agreed a deal with MLS outfit Toronto to bring Defoe back to the Premier League, with Jozy Altidore likely to head in the opposite direction as part of a swap.
We understand that the move is yet to be rubber-stamped, but Defoe is thought to be on Wearside today for talks, with Sunderland confident that they can land the England international as the cure to their attacking woes.
Black Cats boss Gus Poyet, who worked briefly with Defoe at White Hart Lane when he was Spurs assistant manager, has made no secret of his eagerness to boost Sunderland’s attacking options in the January window.
Sunderland have scored just 18 goals in 21 Premier League outings so far this season, with only Aston Villa finding the net on fewer occasions.
And while Defoe has endured a mixed spell at Toronto after joining the Canadian side ona four-year deal just 12 months ago, the 32-year-old is a proven goalscorer.
There have been a string of Premier League clubs vying to land Defoe this month, including Crystal Palace, Leicester and Hull.
Defoe has been training with Spurs for the last week, yet Toronto indicated yesterday that they expected to see him report back for pre-season training this weekend, unless they received an acceptable offer.
If Sunderland can conclude a deal for Defoe, it will almost certainly signal the end of Altidore’s miserable 18-month spell at the Stadium of Light, with Toronto always the front-runners among the MLS sides vying to land the US international.
However, the capture of Altidore would still need to be ratified by the MLS, who have been conducting the negotiations for the 25-year-old.
Meanwhile, Sunderland are NOT pursuing Defoe’s former team-mate Aaron Lennon.
Lennon is one of the players Sunderland have been linked with over recent weeks, with the Black Cats contemplating using their one available Premier League loan before the end of the month.
But it is understood that England winger Lennon is not a player on Sunderland’s hit-list.