Jermain Defoe is officially on his way to Toronto FC.
Defoe's current club, Tottenham Hotspur of England's Premier League, announced Friday morning that it had reached a transfer agreement with Toronto that will send the 31-year-old to the MLS side at the end of February. TFC confirmed the deal a few hours later.
The announcement ends months of speculation as TFC courted the English striker, and comes on the heels of Roma's $10 million transfer of midfielder Michael Bradley to MLS. Both players will be unveiled by Toronto on Monday.
"I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my family to experience living overseas and for me to play in the MLS with a contract that will take me to the age of 35," Defoe said in a statement released by Tottenham. "I have no doubt I shall be coming back as a fan supporting the team in the years to come too."
Defoe was pushed down the ladder at Spurs this season, with the club bringing in several new players under former boss Andre Villas-Boas. When Tim Sherwood took over as manager of the club, Defoe remained behind other attackers at the London side.
"We have several attacking options within our squad for the remaining dozen or so games of the season after Jermain departs and we shall keep our options under review," Sherwood said. "We also have a goal threat from players in other areas of the pitch including having wide players and attacking midfielders who will enable us to vary our shape when required."
In addition to the landmark transfer, Tottenham announced that it will be facing TFC in a friendly on July 23. The match comes as part of Spurs' summer tour of North America, which also includes stops in Seattle and Chicago.
As well, Tottenham has entered into a four-year marketing agreement with TFC owner Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment that will see MLSE promote the Premier League side across its digital platforms and sell Spurs merchandise at its retail outlets.
Defoe and Bradley join a growing list of offseason additions at Toronto that also includes Brazilian striker Gilberto and MLS veterans Dwayne De Rosario, Jackson Goncalves and Justin Morrow. Defoe's pursuit was the most protracted of the deals, and for TFC it represents a new chapter for the beleaguered club.
“We are thrilled, for our club and for our fans, with the opportunity to bring a global football superstar like Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC,” said MLSE president & CEO Tim Leiweke. “We promised our fans in October that building a winning club was our top priority and we scoured the globe to find the right players to fulfill that promise.
"Right from the beginning of this process, Jermain Defoe was the top player on our list and we got our man."