Jermain Defoe has opened talks with Bournemouth following Sunderland’s relegation from Premier League, according to reports.
The England striker, who had a loan spell with the Cherries earlier in his career, has a clause in his contract which means he can move for free.
Defoe, who was Sunderland’s top goal scorer this season, was unable to save the club from relegation as they finished bottom – with boss David Moyes resigning today.
Former Spurs stalwart Defoe, 34, scored 15 goals this season and has 34 Premier League strikes to his name for the Black Cats since joining from MLS side Toronto in January 2015.
It has been widely reported that Bournemouth and former side West Ham were keen on keeping the poacher in the top flight.
He was left out of Sunderland’s squad for their final Premier League game against Chelsea on Sunday, a 5-1 loss.
SunSport reported last week how Defoe was being offered a staggering £18million contract by Bournemouth — despite turning 35 in five months.
The Cherries are dangling a £115,000-a-week, three-year deal in front of him, with boss Eddie Howe believing the star would still be value for money as there is no transfer fee involved.
The offer is for an initial two-year £6m-a- season deal, with the option of another year – and is extra enticing as Defoe had a prolific loan at Bournemouth in 2001-2001, scoring 18 goals in 29 games in the second division.
Moyes spoke of his disappointment with Defoe’s relegation clause recently, saying he would not have allowed it to be a clause in the deal if he been manager at the time.
Bournemouth are also offering Chelsea’s John Terry £100,000-a-week as they look to add experience to their squad ahead of their third Premier League campaign.