Leiweke, the president and chief executive of the franchise’s holding company Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), was speaking after Toronto confirmed the capture of Defoe following months of speculation.
The England international’s arrival represents a major coup for the Major League Soccer outfit as they reshape their squad under the stewardship of head coach Ryan Nelsen, who played with the striker during his short stint as a player at Tottenham.
Defoe – the scorer of 142 goals in 362 appearances over two spells at White Hart Lane – will officially join Toronto on February 28 ahead of the new MLS season.
And Leiweke is delighted to have captured a player of Defoe’s pedigree.
“We are thrilled, for our club and for our fans, with the opportunity to bring a global football superstar like Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC,” Leiweke said.
“We promised our fans in October that building a winning club was our top priority and we scoured the globe to find the right players to fulfil that promise.
“Right from the beginning of this process, Jermain Defoe was the top player on our list and we got our man.
“We would like to thank Tottenham as well as MLSE ownership for this very clear demonstration of our commitment to winning. Most importantly, we want to thank Toronto FC fans for their patience and support getting to this day.”
Toronto general manager Tim Bezbatchenko added: “Jermain brings the complete package to Toronto FC.
“He is an accomplished scorer and I know that his skill and infectious personality will make him a popular star both in Toronto and around the League.”