Sunderland star relishing move to Bournemouth

Jermain Defoe emerges from the 'sheep dip' on the Royal Marines course.
Jermain Defoe emerges from the 'sheep dip' on the Royal Marines course.
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Jermain Defoe is relishing a fresh start at “special place” Bournemouth after admitting that he is joining the Cherries from Sunderland.

The 34-year-old, the Black Cats’ 15-goal top scorer in the season just finished, is departing the Stadium of Light on a free transfer, following relegation from the Premier League.

Defoe had a successful loan spell at Bournemouth early in his career, and is reported to have agreed a lucrative three-year deal at the Vitality Stadium.

Asked whether the transfer to the south coast club was definitely happening, Defoe said: “Well, yeah.”

On Sky Sports News HQ, Defoe added: “What I want to do is get my head down and focus on England, the two games, and then after that everyone will know.

“It’s documented about the Bournemouth thing. It’s a club close to my heart anyway, for obvious reasons.

“I was there as a kid. I think I was 18, on loan from West Ham.

“It’s a special place, with a top manager, and a team that’s done so well from where they’ve come from. A unique story.”

Defoe is with England, aiming to play a part in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Hampden Park, and next Tuesday’s friendly against France.

England manager Gareth Southgate arranged a top-secret trip to the Royal Marines’ Commando Training Centre in Devon as part of the build-up to the Scotland game.

Defoe feels the experience was worthwhile, if unexpected.

He said on BBC Radio 5Live: “When the Marines walked into the room, I was like ‘woah, what is going on here?’ It was ‘right, get up we are going on the coach down south’ and that was it.

“It was just the unknown, we didn’t know what was coming, but I was just really excited, to be honest. You know when you don’t know what is coming, it is just like ‘let’s see’.

“We knew it would be a test and that, but the whole experience was amazing, it was just so good.”

Defoe has been a big success for Sunderland since arriving from Toronto in a swap deal which saw American flop Jozy Altidore head back to the MLS.

In all, Defoe hit 37 goals for the Black Cats in 86 starts.