Sunderland boss happy to put Defoe frenzy in the past

Jermain Defoe. Picture by Frank Reid
Jermain Defoe. Picture by Frank Reid
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David Moyes has insisted that it has been business as usual at Sunderland this week despite the frenzied speculation regarding Jermain Defoe’s future.

West Ham United have been pursuing the 34-year-old striker, but the Black Cats have been absolutely insistent that their leading goalscorer is not for sale.

The Hammers appear to have lost faith that a deal can be done as Moyes clarified the events of a frenetic week.

Moyes said: “West Ham made one bid of £6million and we told them there was no deal.

“There has never at any time been a bid of £13million or any of the other figures that have been bandied around, and we wouldn’t encourage one either.

“They did ask if there was a figure [we were looking for] and we said ‘no’. We’re not talking about it because we don’t think there’s anything to talk about.”

Moyes also revealed that he had not felt the need to discuss the situation with his prize asset.

The message from the Sunderland hierarchy has been clear and the Scot is confident that Defoe has not been affected, calling on him to go and cement his status as a Sunderland legend.

Defoe recently passed 150 Premier League goals, with only Kevin Phillips and Darren Bent scoring more for the club in the modern top tier.

Defoe himself has spoken warmly of his relationship with the club and the fans, even going so far as to encourage other players to ignore the stereotypes and come and play for the Black Cats.

Moyes said: “I don’t think it has been unsettling to me and, as far as I know, to Jermain.

“If there has been talk about it, it’s not from this part of the country that’s for sure.

“Myself, Martin Bain and Ellis Short are categorically saying Jermain Defoe is not for sale.

“I haven’t spoken to Jermain about it – I don’t think there’s any need to. He signed a new contract in the summer, as well.

“He’s been here, he’s liked, he’s very much liked.

“In a way, he’s in a real purple patch in his career, so hopefully he’s enjoying that and is steady in that.

“If he keeps scoring the goals at the rate he is, then he’s going to put himself up there because of his goals and what he’s done.

“This club has had some really good goalscoring centre-forwards over the years, so I’m sure Jermain will want to get in amongst that group and he’s got a great chance.”

The Sunderland boss also called on Defoe’s team-mates to reduce the burden on the man who has already netted 11 league goals this season.

“He’s one of the keys. We can’t completely rely on him – we have to make sure that people create chances for him, and that we defend right at the other end of pitch,” added Moyes.

West Ham are now expected to pursue other striking options, amid reports that they will return with an improved bid for Brentford’s Scott Hogan.

Co-chairman David Gold did, however, rubbish reports (including those on the club’s own website) that the club had moved to try and sign Celtic’s Moussa Dembele.

The Hammers are also reported to have had a bid of £3million for Hull City talisman Robert Snodgrass rejected.