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By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Friday, January 10, 2014
Tim Sherwood says Tottenham are losing one of the best strikers in Premier League history after Jermain Defoe’s transfer to MLS outfit Toronto was confirmed this morning.
However, Spurs’ head coach insists the Lilywhites will be able to cope without the 31-year-old, and that there is no need to sign a replacement this month.
While Defoe has already been sold to Toronto for a fee in the region of £8million, the MLS season in America does not start until March, so the forward will remain at White Hart Lane until February 28.
However, Tottenham are resigned to losing the fifth-highest goalscorer in the club’s history, with the England international netting 142 goals for the north Londoners.
Sherwood said: “He’s been immense, not just for Tottenham but for English football and the Premier League in general. He’s one of the best strikers this league has ever seen.
“His club-scoring record for club and country is second to none and long may that continue because I see him still having a future for England in the World Cup in the summer.
“That instinct of scoring goals is never going to leave Jermain Defoe. He needs to wait until his legs are gone and they’re far from gone at the moment.
“Jermain will go to Toronto after the game [against Crystal Palace] tomorrow. He travels on Sunday and he is going to be a Toronto player, and then he comes back to us and he will be with us until the end of February.
“We are very grateful for that because he would undoubtedly help us between now and that time, with the games that we have.
“It’s an opportunity Jermain wanted to take up - a great opportunity for him and one he really wanted to do. The club have come to an agreement with Toronto and that’s what’s going to happen.”
Sherwood has hinted that he would have liked to keep Defoe, but that negotiations were too far advanced by the time he replaced Andre Villas-Boas as head coach – and that Defoe’s mind was made up anyway.
“I think Jermain has shown respect to this club, and I think the club have shown that to him over the negotiations in this period,” he said.
“They’re respecting Jermain’s wishes to leave and further his career somewhere else, and we all wish him well in that regard. I think it was too far gone for me to start persuading him to play.
“Would I have kept him, in an ideal world? I’ve had conversations with him and I think the ideal world is not there.
“The ideal world is that we would love, between now and the time when Jermain leaves, to give him the send-off that he deserves. We have to pick the right opportunity to be able to do that, but we’re confident that when Jermain leaves we’ve got enough cover here at the football club.”
Defoe’s departure will leave Tottenham with two experienced forwards in Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, in addition to 20-year-old Harry Kane, at a time when they have recently switched to playing with two up front.
Spurs may also have to contend with Europa League ties as well as Premier League fixtures, but Sherwood does not believe that Spurs need to move for a replacement in the January transfer window.
“We’re always looking but it’s nothing which I think is pressing,” he said. “We have Soldado, Adebayor - who’s in a rich vein of form at the moment. We also have Nacer Chadli, and Erik Lamela can play off the front.
“We have a lot of goalscoring options. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s got a good eye for a goal and a good scoring record. I think we’ve got enough goals from different positions in the squad - Harry Kane is another young boy who can come in.
“Unless something happened drastically to one of those boys in the meantime, we may act, but we’ve got no intention to do that now.”
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