Defoe had moved in the opposite direction to Portsmouth in last year's January transfer window, but has signalled his desire to rejoin Harry Redknapp after the FA Cup winner's sudden arrival at White Hart Lane last year.
Redknapp has made little secret of his desire to buy Defoe and has already had earlier bids turned down, with Portsmouth thought to have been testing the market to see if any other clubs became interested.
However, it is believed that Defoe has made it clear to Portsmouth that Tottenham was his preferred destination and few problems are now expected in agreeing personal terms. 'If Portsmouth can agree an acceptable deal with Tottenham I would like the opportunity to talk to them,' said Defoe.
'I've enjoyed my time immensely here, but I can't deny that Harry Redknapp's departure as manager hit me hard, particularly because he was the primary reason why I joined Portsmouth in the first place and said so at the time.
'I left Tottenham to join Portsmouth with the intention of working with Harry for a considerable time to come. So it was obviously a big blow when he left and particularly when he went back to my former club. I could have gone to other clubs when I left Tottenham but I wanted to work with Harry.'
Any deal for Defoe would also have to take into account monies owed to Tottenham by Portsmouth in deals for Younes Kaboul and Pedro Mendes.
Defoe would certainly be warmly welcomed back to Tottenham after supporters sympathised with his situation last year when he left amid frustrations over a lack of games under Juande Ramos.
However, they applauded his goal against them for Portsmouth earlier this year and have been singing his name at recent matches.
Redknapp had the chance to buy other forwards, including Adriano, but he regarded Defoe's near guarantee of Premier League goals as crucial to his plans to avoid relegation.
Negotiations between Portsmouth and Tottenham had appeared strained yesterday, but the financial considerations of a deal for Portsmouth, whose owner Alexandre Gaydamak wants to sell the club, proved decisive.
'It is difficult to talk about Jermain when he is not my player,' said Redknapp yesterday. 'It will cause a bigger problem if I keep talking about him. I got the message that Portsmouth would be willing to sell him. We had a list of strikers and he was on the list. I'd be surprised if the deal gets done as the clubs are a fair way apart on the price.
'If I was Tony Adams I would not sell him. Crouch and Defoe are a terrific partnership and that is why I bought them to play together when I was at Portsmouth. Whether I was in a relegation battle or not, I would not sell Defoe.'
Tottenham are also interested in Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing and West Ham's Craig Bellamy but face competion from Manchester City for the Wales captain, with the Hammers having also turned down two offers from City for midfielder Scott Parker.
Figuring the finances
Defoe joined Portsmouth from Tottenham for £8m last year.
Fee for striker's return to White Hart Lane yet to be finalised as clubs are fighting over £4m sell-on clause, which Tottenham included in contract clause when Defoe was sold to Portsmouth.
North London club value striker at £11m plus their original sell-on payment, which equates to £15m.
Portsmouth valued the striker closer to £20m.
Defoe increased wages from £35,000 to £50,000-per-week in South Coast move. He could demand a further £10,000-a-week increase for London move.