Sunderland are looking to jump to the head of the Jermain Defoe queue by sending US flop Jozy Altidore back to MLS.
The Black Cats have given up any hope of the American coming good at the Stadium of Light and instead want to strike up a swap deal with Toronto FC that will see Defoe get his desired move back to the Premier League.
Sunderland will face stiff competition for Defoe’s services, with Hull manager Steve Bruce confirming his interest in the 32-year-old and new Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew also said to be keen on a reunion with the player he briefly managed at West Ham.
Defoe is just 12 months into a four-year deal with Toronto but the former Tottenham and Portsmouth striker has made no attempt to disguise his desire to return to the English top flight and is currently training with the White Hart Lane outfit in a bid to maintain his fitness ahead of any potential move.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has worked with Defoe before, when filling the assistant manager role with Spurs, and is keen to bring the former England man back to these shores.
The player’s high wage demands could be a stumbling block, but Poyet hopes the inclusion of Altidore, who cost £7m from AZ Alkmaar 18 months ago, will put paid to the interests of Hull and Palace.
The US international boasted a decent scoring record during his Eredivisie spell, netting 51 goals in 93 games for AZ, but has failed to reach anywhere near such numbers in England.
He netted just two goals in a 30-game loan spell with Hull in 2009-10 and has scored just one Premier League goal in 40 appearances since moving to the Stadium of Light.
Toronto believe a move back to familiar surroundings will reignite his career and are willing to lose Defoe – whose mind is already elsewhere – to get the deal over the line.
Next up for Sunderland is a trip to White Hart Lane stadium to face Tottenham, a match in which the Black Cats are priced as 9/2 underdogs.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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