Soccer-Toronto signal intent with signings of Defoe and Bradley


(Adds Bradley signing, changes slug)

By Martyn Herman

LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Under-performing Toronto FC have signed Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe and U.S. international Michael Bradley from AS Roma as the Canadian outfit tries to revive its fortunes after a lowly finish in last season's MLS.

Second from bottom last time in the Eastern Conference, the two signings are a signal of intent from owners Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment with the new season starting in March.

England international Defoe has agreed a four-year deal but will remain at Premier League side Tottenham until Feb. 28.

Bradley, who has also played for German club Borussia Moenchengladbach and Italian side Chievo, is returning to MLS after Roma confirmed a $10 million fee had been agreed.

Defoe joins a notable list of former Premier League players to move to north America which includes former Tottenham team mate Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), David Beckham (LA Galaxy) and Thierry Henry (New York).


"Everybody knows how much this club means to me and I will play my heart out for the team and the fans until my last kick for the club," Defoe told Tottenham's website ( on Friday.

"I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my family to experience living overseas and for me to play in the MLS with a contract that will take me to the age of 35," he added.

Defoe first joined Tottenham from West Ham United in 2004 and returned in 2009 after a short spell at Portsmouth.

In his two spells he became Tottenham's fifth highest scorer with 142 goals and in November last year broke the club's European scoring record previously held by Martin Chivers. He currently has 23 goals in European competition and could add to that before he leaves.

Defoe has also scored 19 goals for England in 55 appearances and is expected to be in the squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil later this year, although a move to MLS, where the season starts in March, could put his place in doubt.

With Tottenham pushing for a top-four finish in the Premier League, Defoe's departure at the end of next month will leave them with only two established strikers in Spain's Roberto Soldado and Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor.

Manager Tim Sherwood said the club would "keep their options under review" during the transfer window.

"We have several attacking options within our squad for the remaining dozen or so games of the season after Jermain departs and we shall keep our options under review," he said.

"We also have a goal threat from players in other areas of the pitch including having wide players and attacking midfielders who will enable us to vary our shape when required."

Bradley, son of former U.S. national coach Bob, began his career with MetroStars before moving Europe.

He joined Roma in 2012 and has made 41 appearances.

Defoe and Bradley will be joining a Toronto side managed by former Tottenham defender Ryan Nelsen and which struggled in the Eastern Conference last season, winning six of their 34 matches.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment also own the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team and NBA outfit Toronto Raptors. (Reporting by Martyn Herman)

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