After what seemed like a long few days while we waited for the move to be confirmed, Jermain Defoe is now officially a Sunderland player after the club completed a swap deal for the striker, which sees Jozy Altidore return to the MLS and join Toronto FC.
Defoe has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Gus Poyet's side and will go straight into the squad for the game against his former side Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow. Speaking about the move, Defoe told safc.com how happy he was to sign for the club;
It is a great club and I've always enjoyed coming up here and playing against Sunderland because of the stadium and the supporters. It is a great place to play and I'm really looking forward to it.
His new head coach was equally as happy at clinching the signature of his former Tottenham team-mate, speaking to safc.com, Poyet spoke of his delight at clinching the signature of a 'special' striker;
I know all about his attributes and his qualities first-hand and his exceptional goal-scoring record speaks for itself. He has something different, something special.
We know each other very well - he was very young when we played together and I was coming to the end of my career, so I know him from inside the pitch.
When I returned to Spurs as a coach it was a great experience for me to work with him, so I am really looking forward to having him as my player now and for him to be part of our team.
The 32-year-old joins Sunderland almost a year to the day after he joined Toronto but despite scoring 11 goals in his first 13 games in the MLS never settled in Canada and then missed 12 of the next 18 games through a mixture of injury and suspension. Although the Toronto fans turned against him when he was back in England on transfer deadline day while he was recuperating from a groin injury, something they saw as a lack of commitment to his club, current Toronto coach Greg Vanney was in no doubt about Defoe's quality. Speaking on Wednesday, Vanney told reporters;
When he was motivated and focused and healthy, he was for me the best player in the league, the best striker in the league.
I think he was scoring a goal every two shots. Arguably if we could have got him more chances, it would have maybe even have been crazy the number of goals he could have scored.
At some point in the season between national team stuff, injury, a number of things, there was an appearance of sort of a lack of motivation to still be there and maybe we didn't see exactly the best of him and maybe a lot of that had to do with injury, I don't know what percentage was what.
But clearly when he was motivated and on his game, there have been few strikers if any in our league that have been as good as him.
We wouldn't have won as many games at the beginning of the year if we didn't have him, that's for sure. He definitely carried more than his fair share early on in the season. And I think that had some of us thinking that we were really on path to have a great season. And really without Jermain we would not have been in the same place.
And so all the other stuff that happened is obviously a long story and a sage and everything else. But on his game he was fantastic, that's true.
Defoe has been allocated the number 28 shirt at the Stadium of Light and the arrival of a player 14th on the all-time Premier League goalscoring charts is sure to be a big boost to the team after their season-long struggles in front of goal.
Meanwhile, Altidore wrapped up his move in the opposite direction as he completed his move to Toronto. He never hit the heights with Sunderland that he reached with AZ Alkmaar and the USA national team and it had been apparent for some time that his career at the Stadium of Light was drawing to a close, with the laughably bad miss against West Ham summing up his Sunderland career.
Toronto's General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko paid tribute to Defoe while also hyping the arrival of the US national team's main striker;
Our top priority is building a winning club with players that are committed to the TFC vision. Jozy is a special player, and checks off all of the boxes that we look for in a player. We are excited to finalize this deal and bring him to Toronto FC.
It became clear that a return for Jermain to the English Premier League was going to be in the best interests of both sides. We'd like to thank Jermain for his contributions to Toronto FC and wish him well.
Altidore will be paraded to the media in Toronto later today and we will update this article with any relevant quotes from the former Sunderland striker.
The deal is thought to be a straight swap, with no money exchanged between the clubs and now it's been completed in time for Defoe to make his debut tomorrow, the striker will be hoping to add to his record of scoring on his club debuts. Fingers crossed!