Lee Johnson reveals latest on Sunderland's pursuit of Jermain Defoe

Lee Johnson has insisted that he wants to bring Jermain Defoe to the club.

Defoe is a free agent after leaving Rangers earlier this month, and Sunderland are one of a number of clubs who are weighing up a move for the 39-year-old.

The Black Cats face competition from League One rivals, with Charlton Athletic publicly confirming their interest and Oxford United also believed to be in the race.

Reports on Friday suggested that it was Johnson’s reservations that were preventing the deal from going through, but the head coach hit back at that in the aftermath of the 1-0 win over Portsmouth.

Former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe

While he insisted that the deal ‘has to be right’ for all parties, he made clear that he wanted the deal to happen.

“It’s misinformation,” Johnson said.

“We’re working very hard to bring Jermain in and we’ve had good conversations [to that effect].

“It’s an option.

“It’s got to be right, both for us and for the player, I do think that, but don’t confuse us being thorough for not having interest.

“I’ve got a load of respect for the man himself and what he could bring to the football club, simple as that.

“We want to bring someone in of that ilk.”