This is what Lee Johnson said about a potential Sunderland move for Jermain Defoe after Rangers exit
Lee Johnson says there are a ‘million and one’ things that would have to fall into place were Jermain Defoe to return to the club.
But the Black Cats boss added that the club were ‘fully aware’ of his situation, having earlier this week left Rangers.
The 39-year-old is considering his next steps in the game but has said that he wants to keep playing.
Sunderland are in the market for attacking reinforcements after Nathan Broadhead suffered a significant hamstring injury last month, leaving Ross Stewart as the only current senior striker available for selection.
"All I’d say is we’re fully aware of his situation as everybody is, we’re fully aware of his character and the professional standards he’s adhered to over the course of his career, they are elite and top level,” Johnson said.
“As in any scenario there are a million and one things that would have to happen for that to be beneficial to all parties, and that would be key.
"It’s as simple as that.
"It’s an open-market player that would be in consideration for the pros and cons, as any other player would.
“But of course the rapport with the area always comes into account, and that respect for an individual for a great human being who has had a fantastic career.”
Asked how it would fit with the club’s strategy of recruiting young talent, Johnson added: “I have to remove the Jermain from that question.
"Any signing has to be right for the football club, simple as that.
"You look at what they can bring on the pitch and off it, mainly on it of course.
"Every player available, it’s our responsibility to do the due diligence so we can make an informed decision.”
Defoe has made two senior appearances so far this season, the last of which was on November 28th last year.
Speaking on Thursday, Defoe told talkSPORT that he wanted to continue until the end of the season at least as he outlined the circumstances behind his Rangers exit.
"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.”