Cherries closing in on Defoe coup

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Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is set to land a proven goalscorer as Jermain Defoe nears a return to the south coast from relegated Sunderland.

The 34-year-old striker's 18 goals were not enough to save the Black Cats from the drop this past season, with David Moyes subsequently resigning as manager on Monday.

Defoe was expected to leave the Stadium of Light due to a clause in his contract allowing the England international to move on for free in the event of the Wearsiders' relegation from the top flight.

The veteran marksman enjoyed a productive loan spell with the Cherries at the start of his career, scoring 18 goals in 29 appearances before going on to star for parent club West Ham.

Defoe's exploits for the north-east outfit earned him a recall to the national team after an absence of almost three years, and he scored on his return in a 2-0 win against Lithuania two months ago.

Howe's side finished ninth in the table to secure top-flight football for a third successive season, after winning the Championship in 2015.