Former All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen is poised to land a stunning double coup by signing Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley to Toronto FC.
British and Canadian media yesterday reported that England and Tottenham Hotspur striker Defoe would be unveiled in Toronto on Tuesday (NZT) while the club was also in final talks to obtain USA midfielder Bradley from Roma.
Nelsen hung up the boots last year to take the head coaching job at the struggling MLS club and endured a tumultuous rookie season, finishing 17th of 19 teams.
But the double capture of Defoe, a former Tottenham team-mate of Nelsen, and Bradley, one of the USA's best players, would completely transform the prospects of the much-maligned club.
Nelsen has been chasing Defoe, who has 19 goals in 55 games for England, since October, when he raved about his talents.
"One of the most natural goalscorers I have ever come across," said Nelsen, who was frequently charged with trying to stop Defoe in a nine-year English Premier League career.
"Always out training, always trying to score, a great guy. To get a guy like Defoe for the MLS, I cannot think of many that are more suited. I think if you ask most Premier League teams, they would take Defoe. It would be incredible. I call him and text him all the time.
"His playing in Toronto would be phenomenal. If you look around the world and try and think of a realistic player - and I am not sure how realistic he is - that complements a league like ours, never gets injured, doesn't drink, can play high, low, scores all sorts of goals."
Toronto posted messages on their website and Twitter warning fans to expect "a bloody big deal" on Tuesday (NZT).
It was reported the 31-year-old Defoe would be loaned back to Tottenham until March 1 before the start of the MLS season on March 15.
The Toronto Star reported that the combined value of transfer fees and salaries for Defoe and Bradley would reach Canadian $100 million (NZ $112 million).
- Fairfax Media
Will Burnley retain their EPL status?