SUNDERLAND manager Lee Johnson failed to pin his colours to the mast over the potential signing of Jermain Defoe following news that an offer has been tabled for the 39-year-old.

The former England striker is now a free agent after being released by Scottish Champions Rangers earlier this month and revealed on Talksport this morning that the Black Cats are one of a number of clubs he is considering as an option.

Defoe played for the club for two-and-a-half years between January 2015 and July 2017 where he scored 37 goals in 93 games.

Defoe would add competition to the Sunderland squad in the central striker role with League One top scorer Ross Stewart being the only available option at the moment.

While an offer is currently on the table for Defoe, Johnson admits the deal is still some way off.

“We know the script with that one. He’s a good guy” said the Black Cats boss.

“The fan base is all over it. Obviously he is 39 years of age and that can bring us a wealth of experience. At the same time, a lot of things would have to happen for any potential move to happen. And a lot people would have to be happy with it for whatever reason.

“At the moment, it’s not there.”

In today’s press conference, Johnson was asked directly whether he wanted to Defoe to join the club this month.

He responded: “I think it’s a difficult question because there’s so many elements that go into that.

“You’ve got the football side, you’ve got the condition of the player in terms of game time, you’ve got the injury record. Everything has to be looked at it in fine detail.

“Probably one of the biggest things is the connection between coach and player as well. I think that becomes really important. I would always want, talking about Danny Batth and players that we’ve brought in, I’ve always felt that connection.

“Of course they are signing for the football club first and foremost but the coach is picking the team and that becomes really important.

“To answer the question, of course in principle it sounds like a fantastic idea but at the same time there’s so many intricacies that have to be right for all parties to be able to be comfortable and happy with any particular signing.”

While the manager wasn’t prepared to pin his colours to the mast when it comes to a deal for Defoe, he understands the benefits of bringing the 39-year-old to the Stadium of Light.

“I accept all the positives of any player of that ilk” Johnson continued.

“I’m never sure on the commercial effect of a signing like that and I never think you should make a signing based on commercial. I don’t agree with that personally.

“I think influence is absolutely immense. To be able to bring a senior player in, as highly decorated in terms of career. Anybody, and I’m removing that from Jermain, that’s been there and done it and got that experience, of course young players will be bright eyed and listen to anyone whether that’s Danny Batth or the likes of Jermain Defoe and you see it all over the world.

“Where top players go into different levels and that can have an instant impact.”