Jermain Defoe reveals how close he came to joining Man Utd amid crunch phone call

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe had other offers before joining Tottenham in 2004 (Picture: Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Jermain Defoe, who has today announced his retirement from football, has revealed he came close to joining Manchester United and Juventus in the early stages of his career.

The 39-year-old has called time on his illustrious career which saw him score 305 goals in 764 appearances as well as win 57 caps for England.

Defoe started his professional career at West Ham in 2000 before making a name for himself at Tottenham.

But the striker says a move to Juventus or United looked to be on the cards prior to moving to White Hart Lane in 2004.

‘When I was younger at West Ham and was coming through, like any young player there is speculation and was always linked to Man United,’ he told talkSPORT.

‘I remember speaking to the Man United boys years later and they thought I was coming.

‘You always think at this stage and think it would have been amazing to play under someone like Sir Alex [Ferguson] and all the trophies they’ve won.

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe helped guide Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title (Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

‘I try not to regret anything as things happen for a reason.

‘I remember getting a phone call from my agent the day before I signed for Tottenham and said I’m taking you to Juventus.

‘A club that size with its culture, that experience and that. Went back to Tottenham and loved it, Harry Redknapp signed me again.’

Defoe’s most recent club saw him return to Sunderland in January 2022 on a short-term deal but just two months later he’s decided to hang up his boots.

His two career titles came with Spurs in the 2007-08 League Cup and at Rangers where he helped them win the 2020-21 Scottish Premiership.

‘When you’re a kid you just want to be a professional and for me I always wanted to play at the top level, play for England and win trophies,’ Defoe said.

‘I’ve always said that I wanted to win a league title because I think it’s something that no-one can ever take away with you, because that’s basically saying that you’ve been the best team throughout the course of the season.

‘To show that sort of consistency in any league is something that’s really difficult to do.

‘Last season was really special for me because, to be honest I thought it would’ve came quicker, but I was happy it came at the back end of my career because I felt like I appreciated it more.

‘It was really, really special.’

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