Jermain Defoe would 'prefer' move to West Ham, says Tony Cottee

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Former West Ham striker Tony Cottee thinks Jermain Defoe will be back at the club next season

Jermain Defoe would prefer a return to former club West Ham in the summer, according to Sky Sports pundit Tony Cottee.

The England forward, 34, is expected to leave Sunderland following their relegation from the Premier League and is available on a free transfer due to a clause in his contract at the Stadium of Light.

Sky Sports News HQ understands West Ham are interested in signing Defoe, who has scored 15 goals for Sunderland this season, but will face competition from Bournemouth.

When asked whether Defoe would be playing his football at London Stadium next season, Cottee told Premier League Daily: "Yes, I think he will be. I think that's his preferred choice. Obviously it depends on the owners and the people running West Ham.

LONDON - OCTOBER 22:  Jermain Defoe  of West Ham United celebrates his goal during the Nationwide first division match between West Ham United and Nottingh
Image: Defoe made his professional debut for West Ham but left in 2004

"Would I like him there? Yes I would. He's a goalscorer and it's hard to buy goalscorers now. People say he's 34, but with the modern game, I think it's easier to play at a latter age.

"I retired at 35, but I think you can now play at the age of 36, 37 in the Premier League and Jermain has done it this year, scored a lot of goals and led the line on his own with not a lot of support.

"Bournemouth will be in for him and many other clubs, but I think his preferred option would be West Ham."

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Defoe joined West Ham from Charlton as a 16-year-old in 1999 and had a spell on loan at Bournemouth before breaking into the Hammers' first-team.

He went on to score 41 goals in 105 for West Ham, but following the club's relegation from the Premier League he left to join Tottenham in 2004.

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