Departing Jermain Defoe reflects on Sunderland highlights as he thanks supporters
Jermain Defoe has returned to Bournemouth, the club he first represented on a season-long loan from West Ham 17 years ago.
The 34-year-old has signed a three-year deal at the south coast club, and joins after activating a clause in his Sunderland contract which allowed him to leave for free if the club was relegated.
Despite Sunderland's drop to the Championship, Defoe still managed 15 league goals for them over the course of the season, a tally that helped him secure an England recall in the spring. Signing for the club in January 2015 after a brief spell in Major League Soccer with Toronto, his goals went a long way to keeping the Black Cats in the top flight in the two seasons prior to their eventual relegation.
With his departure now confirmed, Defoe thanked Sunderland supporters in a short statement released via his Twitter account. Explaining that he has had an 'amazing time' at the Stadium of Light, he also described the moment he accompanied Bradley Lowery on to the pitch ahead of a game against Everton as being one of the highlights of his time at the club, along with the goal he scored against Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby.
'The highlight of my time has to be walking out with Bradley against Everton and that volley against Newcastle,' he wrote.
To the Sunderland fans. You have been amazing... 🔴⚪ pic.twitter.com/9bhwfj0nEm
— Jermain Defoe OBE (@IAmJermainDefoe) June 29, 2017