Jermain Defoe contract relegation clause disappoints Sunderland boss David Moyes
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 12/05/17 5:49pm
Sunderland manager David Moyes has spoken of his disappointment at striker Jermain Defoe's relegation clause, while he also revealed Black Cats fans can expect a major transformation to the squad this summer.
Defoe, who arrived in January 2015 from MLS side Toronto in a deal worth £6m, has gone on to score 30 Premier League goals over his two full seasons at the Stadium of Light.
His goalscoring helped the club avoid the drop last year but was not enough this campaign, and Moyes has now confirmed the 34-year-old has a relegation clause in his contract which will allow him to leave Wearside for free this summer, something he admits is hard to accept.
"We hope Jermain stays. Everybody at the club wants him to stay, all the supporters want him to stay, but it has to be Jermain's decision what he does," Moyes said.
"Yes, there's a clause in the contract, which is hard to take.
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"I would hope, in my time if I'd been manager I wouldn't have allowed a clause like that in there but it is and obviously we have to honour the contract."
Defoe was recently handed an England recall by manager Gareth Southgate and scored on his return against Lithuania in a World Cup Qualifier, having not featured for the national side since 2013.
Though in the twilight of his career, the forward now his eyes on the 2019 World Cup in Russia, something Moyes admits could further harm Sunderland's chances of keeping him at the club.
"That's a question for Jermain [on remaining at the club]. Obviously he's got himself back in the England team.
"He'll want to, I'm sure, push and try to be a member of the World Cup squad, and I think he'll be thinking, 'It's hard to do that if I'm a Championship player'."
Moyes added that further alterations to the squad are inevitable this summer, as the club will aim to sign a different sort of player to recent years, in a similar vein to the way in which rivals Newcastle did this season.
"We use the word 'robust' and we are talking about trying to get as many robust players as we possibly can," he said.
"I have a four-year contract and we're all working hard behind the scenes to get things right from pre-season to players.
"I hope that we're able to build a team that can get us straight back up.
"We're not over relegation but we're trying to put it behind us and win as many games as we can heading into the new season."
"The initial discussions [with club owner Ellis Short] went fine. I put in the plans of what I think it should be like and where it needs to go, and I'll meet Ellis at the end of the season and discuss it."