It has been reported that Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is set to sign with Toronto FC, in what will be the largest salary ever seen in the MLS. The 31 year-old will sign a four year deal with a wage of approximately $150,000 a week. His base salary of $110,000 at Spurs has been matched, with the further portion to be made up through bonuses.
Although David Beckham signed a landmark five year deal in 2007 worth $250 million, he only earned $6.5 million in salary. The majority of his deal was made up through revenue splits. Clint Dempsey of Seattle was the highest paid player in the 2013 season, earning roughly $5 million.
The England Striker has fallen out of favor at Spurs since the signing of Roberto Soldado. Rumors have been circling for the past month that the 31 year old will make a move, and talks gained further traction on Saturday. Defoe will likely join Toronto FC at the beginning of the European winter transfer window on January 1 for a fee roughly around the $10 million mark.
Toronto FC are managed by former Spurs player Ryan Nelsen, and after an unsuccessful season, the club promised they would look to make changes to improve.
The MLS is somewhat of an enigma, with it being one of the few soccer leagues around the world that has a salary cap. While the cap figure wouldn’t make a dint in many Premier League payrolls, the ‘Designated Player’ rule allows MLS teams to pay marquee players outside of the cap. The previously mentioned David Beckham is one of the most famous to have filled this spot, with his move from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy in 2007. In recent years many European stars have made the switch, including the likes of Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill. This is often an attractive proposition for a fringe European player, or a North American star looking to return home (such as Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan).
Defoe was a fans’ favorite at Tottenham, and it will remain to be seen if this will dent the North London club’s ambition for European qualification.