While there remain plenty of factors in play, Leicester City appears to have jumped out in front in the Jermain Defoe sweepstakes. It became quite clear as the January transfer window loomed that the only thing holding Defoe back from returning to the Premier League was cost.
A number of other English clubs have been thrown into the mix, all near the bottom of the Premier League table. Queens Park Rangers were long considered the front runners for a while, as Harry Redknapp ranged from "I don't want him" to "he costs too much". Hull City was also in the conversation, as was Liverpool but they were always the least likely.
Leicester is the only club that seem confident that both what they are paying Defoe and Toronto will be substantial enough to make the deal go through. It is somewhat nice to see that Toronto is standing up for themselves here and insuring substantial value for a player that they spent so many resources to pursue.
Leicester currently sit last place in the Premier League, and therefore could really use a boost in their quest to stay in the top English league. In this Toronto should be somewhat offended, that Defoe is willing to look at literally any club that is currently in the Premier League.
Most will agree that this a story that the club really needs to rid itself of, whether it is through retaining Defoe or letting him leave to one of these clubs. This must be done as soon as possible for the club to switch gears to a new focus for the 2014 season.
As for Defoe's replacement there have been a number of names floating around just as the Englishman's departure is more and more realistic. The consensus is that the team is looking for a number 10. Some have said they are looking at a South American player. Others suggest Steven Gerrard could be on his way, although as always that is a fairly unlikely scenario.
Should Toronto lose Defoe it will hurt, a lot. Something that has been lost in all the Defoe hating is the fact that he was easily the best player this club has ever had. Without him the Offense always looked stagnant at best. The club is really relying on a lot of maybes: Gilberto will score substantially more, Robbie Findley will revert to his former self.