Defoe will stay at Toronto FC

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] So much for those stories of Jermain Defoe leaving Toronto FC. Monday's transfer deadline came and went in England without an EPL team reaching a deal with the MLS club for the English international's transfer.

“Toronto FC received a record transfer offer for Jermain Defoe. I’m here to tell everyone today that we can confirm that we have declined the offer,” TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a conference call on Monday. “We wouldn’t be doing proper service to the club if we didn’t examine the offer and explore our options.”

The Toronto Sun reported that three clubs made bids for the English international -- including $11 million from the Queens Park Rangers. Outgoing MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke told the Sun that bids were submitted for five TFC players.

Reports in the English press about Defoe's dissatisfaction with the situation at TFC following the dismissal of head coach Ryan Nelsen on Sunday stemmed in part because the forward was seen in London. Defoe, who has 11 goals in 16 MLS games, happened to be there seeking a second opinion on his groin injury that has sidelined him.

“In the offseason, again, people will make offers, they always do, and we’ll go through the same steps where we take in all the information at the time,” Bezbatchenko said. “So, as of now, yes, there’s no reason he wouldn’t be with us [next year].”

Bezbatchenko, who named Greg Vanney as Nelsen's replacement, admitted Defoe was frustrated with the situation at Toronto FC, which now sits tied for third place in the Eastern Conference with three wins in its last 13 games.

“Moving forward, he understands why we made the change,” Bezbatchenko added. “Jermain is a true professional. He shows a commitment to his teammates and he’s going to be back. That’s just the way it is.”

As for the future?

“In the offseason, again," Bezbatchenko said, "people will make offers, they always do, and we’ll go through the same steps where we take in all the information at the time. So, as of now, yes, there’s no reason he wouldn’t be with us [next year].”
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