Belfast Telegraph

Jermain Defoe says 'I can guarantee goals' after completing Bournemouth move

England striker Jermain Defoe has promised to bring goals to Bournemouth once again after completing his move back to the South Coast.

The Cherries confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the 34-year-old had joined the club from Sunderland on a free transfer after a clause in his contract allowing him to do so had been triggered by the Black Cats' relegation from the Premier League.

Defoe, who scored in a club record 10 consecutive league games for Bournemouth during a loan spell earlier in his career, admitted the decision to sign a three-year contract had been a straightforward one.

He said: "It's great to be back and I'm really looking forward to this challenge. When the opportunity came about to return to AFC Bournemouth, I just knew it was the right one.

"It was an easy decision, joining a top team with a top manager. It's a great place to be.

"The Bournemouth fans know that every time I pull the shirt on, I will give 100 per cent, and the one thing I can guarantee is goals."

The Cherries, who finished in ninth place last season, have invested heavily in Defoe's wage packet as they look to increase their goal-tally, and manager Eddie Howe - a former team-mate - was delighted to have got his man.

Howe said: "This is a huge moment for the football club and another step in the right direction.

"We want to bring players here who can have a big impact on our continued rise and we believe Jermain fits that as a natural, proven goalscorer.

"We have known him for a long time, since working with him as a young pro and playing with him. I have followed his career and am delighted to say he is going to be playing for AFC Bournemouth again."

Howe's men have established themselves in the top flight since winning promotion in 2015 to cap a meteoric rise from the depths of League Two, and chief executive Neill Blake is hoping Defoe's capture can help them take the next step.

Blake said: "As soon as we found out Jermain was available, we worked hard to make this transfer happen.

"Top-class strikers are not easy to come by, so I am delighted that Jermain will be pulling on the AFC Bournemouth shirt once more.

"He is someone with huge experience at the highest level, he knows the club and we believe he can make a real impact in helping us continue building on our recent success."

Defoe, who joined Sunderland from Toronto in January 2015, scored 37 goals in 93 appearances for the club.

Defoe said his goodbyes to Sunderland fans in a message posted on his Twitter account in which he referred to his friendship with terminally ill six-year-old Bradley Lowery.

He wrote: "I'd like to thank all the Sunderland fans for their support and everyone else involved with the football club. I had an amazing time with so many great memories.

"I'm going to miss so many people at the club, from the canteen staff and the chef to the laundry girls and the cleaners, who always made the boys smile no matter what.

"I feel blessed to have played for such a great football club with some of the best fans I have ever come across. The highlight of my time has to be walking out with Bradley against Everton and that volley against Newcastle - a goal people still come up and talk to me about!!

"I want to wish everyone at Sunderland the best for the future. There's some talented players there and some great youngsters pushing through, so I can't wait to see you back in the Premier League.

"I'm looking forward to my new challenge and can't wait to get started at AFC Bournemouth!"

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