Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is refusing to allow speculation over his future to distract him from the business of scoring precious goals for the Black Cats.
Former club West Ham had a £6million bid for the 34-year-old rejected early last month, leaving Sunderland fans worrying for the rest of the transfer window over whether he would remain at the Stadium of Light.
However, Defoe just carried on doing what he has done throughout his two years on Wearside and, since the turn of the year, has added five goals in as many Premier League games to the nine he scored during the first half of the campaign.
Defoe told talkSPORT: “I’m totally focused on scoring goals, I’m totally focused on helping this football club stay in the Premier League.
“For me, that’s the best way to approach it so I’m not distracted. I’ll just keep my head down and work hard.
“Even with the speculation about West Ham, it’s always nice when you’re wanted. But at the end of the day, I’ve been a part of this game for a long time and that’s part and parcel of it now, so it was easy for me to see it and just think, ‘Okay, that’s nice people want me, but I’ve got to be focused on Sunderland’.”
Defoe’s prowess in front of goal has given manager David Moyes fresh hope that the Black Cats can get themselves out of relegation trouble once again, and the double he claimed in last Saturday’s stunning 4-0 victory at Crystal Palace helped to raise spirits significantly.
He has carried the burden of providing the bulk of the goals ever since his arrival from Toronto in January 2015, but it is one which does not weigh heavily on his shoulders.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s not something I really think about,” Defoe said. “It’s not something that gets to me.
“I think I quite enjoy it, if I’m being totally honest. I realise how important the goals are, so I totally dedicate myself to preparing in the correct way so I’m ready to go.”