One Last Dance: Defoe returns to Sunderland

Sunderland AFC is delighted to welcome Jermain Defoe back to the Stadium of Light.

One of the greatest Premier League goalscorers of all time, the iconic striker returns to Wearside and signs an initial contract until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

Defoe arrives on a free transfer following his departure from Rangers Football Club, having helped the Scottish giants to secure a record-breaking 55th league title – the club’s first in a decade.

Only eight players have scored more PL goals than the 39-year-old, who has represented West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth in the top flight and netted over 300 senior goals during a glittering 23-year career.

Signed from Toronto FC in January 2015, his first spell on Wearside was simply unforgettable as the striker cemented an enduring legacy on and off the pitch.

Defoe scored on his home debut and notched against Swansea City, but it was on 5 April 2015 that he wrote his name into Wearside folklore by netting one of the greatest ever Stadium of Light goals in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United.

His unstoppable form continued throughout the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, as he scored 33 times in 74 games, and he inspired millions along the way by striking up an eternal bond with Bradley Lowery.

‘Best mates’, the duo walked out at the Stadium of Light together on numerous occasions and they captured hearts across the world in March 2017 when Lowery led out the Three Lions at Wembley Stadium and Defoe scored on his coveted England return.

The striker departed in June 2017 following the club’s relegation from the Premier League and he joined AFC Bournemouth, returning to Dean Court 16 years after joining the Cherries on loan from West Ham United.

Upon his return, Defoe said: “I can’t stop smiling because this is a special move for me for many reasons. I’ve had so many messages saying, ‘remember when you said you would come back’, as I said that I would one day and when I left, I wasn’t ready to leave. I have a special bond with the fans here and the club is in a fantastic position to get promoted. I want to be a part of more special times here and I’m looking forward to it.”

Kristjaan Speakman added: “We all know how high highly regarded Jermain is amongst our fan base and within the wider community. He returns at a crucial time in our season, and we firmly believe that he can have a positive influence on and off the pitch. Jermain’s personality is infectious and his mindset is elite. He is a proven winner and a goalscorer and we are delighted to welcome him back to the Stadium of Light.”

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