Jermain Defoe staying with Toronto FC
Unhappy striker reportedly drew interest from English clubs
Though English Premier League clubs Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers were among those rumoured to be interested in acquiring Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC will keep the disgruntled striker.
The Major League Soccer club has turned down several transfer offers, including a club-record bid.
Soccer's transfer window closes Monday at 6 p.m. ET.
The Daily Telegraph had reported that Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle, Hull City and Leicester City were interested in the 31-year-old Defoe, with several English papers citing a figure of around £7 million ($12.6 million) as the transfer fee.
The Telegraph reported Defoe had been told by Toronto he could leave on loan until January and then try to arrange a permanent move.
Questions remain whether Defoe wants to continue in a Toronto uniform.
General manager Tim Bezbatchenko, who spoke to Defoe earlier in the day, told reporters in a conference call Monday that his star forward wanted to remain in Toronto.
"He's committed," he said.
But Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp told a different story.
"We made a big effort to get Jermain Defoe back but couldn't quite manage to get a deal to bring him back from Toronto," Redknapp told BBC 5 Live. "He wanted to come home but there was no way that they would release him before the playoffs."
Defoe played under Redknapp at Tottenham and Portsmouth.
Defoe, who leads the team with 11 goals in 16 games but is currently out with a groin injury, reportedly wanted out of Toronto because he doesn't like the direction of the.
Bezbatchenko on Sunday fired head coach Ryan Nelsen and five of his assistants as Toronto (9-9-6) fights to stay in position for the first MLS playoff berth in its eighth season of existence.
The team had won just three of its last 13 games (3-5-5) and the players were showing few signs of life on the field.
Stan Collymore, a former player turned soccer pundit in England, tweeted Redknapp as saying "Almost certain Defoe will come in January."
Bezbatchenko declined to say who the interested clubs were, saying only there was more than one. But he said the top bid was a near-record amount for MLS as well.
"I want everyone to know there was a lot of money on the table," he said. "It's a serious business but we have a commitment to our fans and we decided to turn it down."
European transfer deals come in two parts, with the clubs striking an agreement and the player coming to personal contrast terms with his new team. Asked if the Defoe camp had held such discussions with any of the suitors, Bezbatchenko referred the question to the player's representatives.
The striker is currently in England dealing with a groin injury and has missed four of the past five games. There is no timeline on his return to action, although Bezbatchenko said a decision will be made in the coming weeks whether Defoe requires surgery. That would likely put him out until the start of October.
"We love having Jermain here. Jermain's integral to what we're doing," Bezbatchenko said.
"We need Jermain, we want Jermain here. He's going to help us win games," he added.
With files from The Canadian Press