Sam Allardyce is said to be confident of luring Jermain Defoe to Crystal Palace on a free transfer when the window reopens at the end of the season.
The 34-year-old is almost certain to leave Sunderland during the summer, with his current contract allowing him to depart on a free in the event of relegation. That David Moyes’ side should suffer such a fate has been fairly evident for much of the campaign, and they were finally condemned when they fell to a 1-0 home defeat against Hull City last month with four games to spare.
In truth, their drop into the Championship would probably have been confirmed much earlier had it not been for Defoe and his goals. The England international, who was recalled to the squad in March after a three-year absence, has found the back of the net 15 times in the Premier League this season, taking his tally to 34 in 85 since his arrival from Toronto FC in January 2015.
Since it became known that the striker had an escape clause in his contract, he has been linked with a handful of clubs, including two sides he has played for in the past in West Ham United and Bournemouth. But according to ESPN, Allardyce is confident of persuading a player he managed at the Stadium of Light to reunite with him at Palace if they avoid relegation.
Despite impressive wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in April, the Eagles have lost their last three matches including a 5-0 hammering at Manchester City on Saturday. This has allowed their fellow strugglers to gain ground on them, and with two fixtures left to fulfil, they are just four points ahead of Marco Silva’s Hull who travel to Selhurst Park for a crucial meet this weekend.
A point against the Tigers would guarantee Palace’s place in the top-flight next season, and in turn this would give Allardyce the green-light to move for Defoe who could form an exciting partnership with Christian Benteke. Another priority for the capital club is the permanent signing of defender Mamadou Sakho, who has made a huge impression since joining on loan from Liverpool in January.