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30th Dec, 2016 | 1:38pm

Moyes gives emphatic answer following West Ham reported interest in Defoe

By Emma Sanders

David Moyes has denied contact from any team despite strong speculation linking Jermain Defoe with a move to the Hammers, and has said the player “stays here”.

According to the Sun, West Ham have identified Defoe as their number one target in January and they hope to be able to persuade the striker to return to east London.

Defoe has been in excellent form for Sunderland this season and Moyes has moved quickly to shut down any speculation that his star asset might be on the move.

The former Everton and Manchester United manager went on to state he “stays here” and that Defoe’s goal-scoring ability is one of the best in Britain.

“I’m comfortable with other people talking about him,” said Moyes as quoted by TalkSPORT. “I think his stats show he’s something like the best British goalscorer this year, so it’s going to happen.

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“I’ve never had contact from anybody. He doesn’t go. He’s under contract and he stays here. We need his goals. He’s vital to us.”

Already this season Defoe has netted eight goals in 18 Premier League appearances.

The 34-year-old has long been considered one of England’s best goal-scorers and fans have called for him to be recalled to the England squad.

Defoe made a name for himself at West Ham between 1999 and 2004 before he went on to join Tottenham in a £7 million deal before picking up 55 England caps.

West Ham have struggled to gain consistency this season and despite a recent surge in form, they currently sit in the bottom half of the Premier League table.

In other West Ham news, Aaron Cresswell claims this is the player to inspire the Hammers good form.