Transfer news: Toronto striker Jermain Defoe passes medical at Sunderland ahead of proposed move
Last Updated: 15/01/15 10:41am
Jermain Defoe has passed a medical at Sunderland ahead of his proposed move from Toronto, according to Sky sources.
As many as 10 Premier League clubs were interested in signing Defoe during January's transfer window, but Sunderland appear to have won the race.
The England striker has been targeted to help improve a record of just 18 goals in 21 league games this season.
Defoe is a proven scorer in the Premier League - 14th on the all-time list with 124 goals from his time at West Ham, Spurs and Portsmouth.
QPR, Crystal Palace, Hull and Leicester are among the other clubs thought to be keen on the 32-year-old, who has scored 11 times in 19 appearances since joining MLS side Toronto last year.
Sky sources report that the Defoe deal is a straight swap for Jozy Altidore, the United States striker who has scored just once in 18 months on Wearside.
Altidore previously played for New York Red Bulls, and under MLS rules players returning from abroad, and USA internationals, must first be offered to the teams at the top of the Allocation Order - a similar system to the NFL draft.
There are five teams currently above Toronto, who may be forced to strike a deal with a higher club if they want the player.
There have been exceptions to the rules, though: when Clint Dempsey returned to the MLS to join Seattle Sounders in 2013 he was classed as a Designated Player, a status that exempted him from the allocation process.
Given the same status Altidore could in theory move to any MLS club willing to pay his wages, potentially leading to complications over the Defoe deal.