Sunderland have knocked-back a formal approach from West Ham United for striker Jermain Defoe, according to The Mirror.

It is believed the London club are willing to pay up to £5 million for the 34-year-old goalscorer, but their interest was immediately rebuffed by the Black Cats who insist the England international is not for sale.

However, according to Sky Sports, since their initial contact, the Hammers have asked the North East club to name their price for the veteran.

The talisman has notched 11 goals so far this season, and is the leading English goalscorer in the Premier League.

So it comes as no surprise West Ham have moved quickly in January to secure Defoe’s signature, and bring him back to the club he made his name.

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic believes the Wearsiders saviour would be the perfect addition to his side, and provide support to Simone Zaza, Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll who have only managed to find the net three times between them so far this campaign.

But Sunderland manager David Moyes has insisted that the prolific striker is “invaluable” and will not be sold.

However, with strict instruction the 53-year-old cannot strengthen until players are offloaded this transfer window, he may have his hands tied if a big offer were to be presented.

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