Jermain Defoe has admitted that he nearly returned to West Ham a few years ago, when speaking exclusively to Football Fancast, after Mark Noble told him over the phone that the club wanted to re-sign him.
Defoe, now 37, scored 45 goals in 105 matches for West Ham.
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And he hasn’t slowed down one bit 17 years later.
The former Hammers hitman has bagged 25 goals in 52 games for Glasgow giants Rangers. Steven Gerrard brought the experienced ace to Ibrox on an 18-month loan deal in January 2019.
West Ham poached the striker from Charlton in 1999, and he was an instant hit in east London.
Fan favourite quickly became hate figure in east London
But things turned sour four years later, when Defoe handed in a transfer request on the day that the Hammers were relegated from the Premier League.
He has never been forgiven by West Ham fans and has always received a hostile welcome when returning to either Upton Park or the London Stadium.
Defoe told Football Fancast how the Hammers were keen to re-sign him a few years back:
“Yeah, I nearly went back to West Ham. I spoke to Mark Noble on the phone and he explained that the club wanted me back, that they needed someone to score goals, but at the time I said I wasn’t going to leave Sunderland because they had done a lot for me and I had a special relationship with the fans, but I didn’t rule it out for the future. Obviously it didn’t happen but the West Ham fans, despite all the stick they used to give me when I was at Spurs, were buzzing.”
Defoe was being managed at the time at Sunderland by current West Ham boss David Moyes. And the Scot would surely love to have the diminutive forward amongst his ranks now.
But he’s now 37. And it the chance to move back to the Hammers has probably passed him by.
It has to be said, however, there would surely have been a hell of a lot of West Ham fans who wouldn’t have wanted Defoe back in the first place.