Cape Town - West Ham have fallen short in their bid to bring Jermain Defoe back to the club after seeing a £6 million offer rejected by Sunderland.
The veteran striker is a product of the Hammers' famed academy and spent five years in the first team before joining London rivals Tottenham in 2004.
Defoe has been labelled "priceless" by Black Cats boss David Moyes, who saw him rescue a 2-2 draw against Liverpool on Monday with two penalties as the Wearsiders twice came from behind at the Stadium of Light.
That brace took the 34-year-old's tally for the season to 11 goals in 20 Premier League appearances, putting his just four shy of the 15 he scored last season to help keep the club in the top flight.
It is believed that the east Londoners will return with an improved bid for Defoe, But Moyes will be loath to part with a player who will be crucial to his side's cause in staving off relegation for a second straight year.