Toronto FC: Is Sebastian Giovinco More of a Bloody Big Deal?
Mar 22, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; The Canadian flag is displayed in the crowd during the Canadian national anthem in a game against D.C. United at BMO Field. Toronto FC won 1-0.Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
It was this time last season that Toronto FC announced that they signed Jermain Defoe in what was hyped up as a “Bloody Big Deal” for TFC fans. However, the recent acquisition of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore might be more of a big deal — especially with Giovinco.
Jul 16, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Jermain Defoe (18) tries to get past Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Matias Laba (15) at BMO Field. The FC tied the Whitecaps 1-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
With injury problems and rumours about his desire to return to play in England, it was time for TFC to part with Defoe. Last week it was announced that Defoe was sold to Sunderland in the British Premier League and it already looks like TFC will benefit from the deal. While Defoe was not a total bust, it was clear that he was not committed to staying in Toronto. In exchange for Defoe, the team gets a young striker in Altidore who is supposed to be a key player for the United States national team.
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Jan 16, 2015; Toronto, ON], Canada; Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore is joined by family members as he shows off his new Toronto FC jersey during a media conference at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
After it was reported as a straight player for player trade the Canadian Press found out that there is more involved with the deal. They say that Toronto gets two friendlies for free. And a source confirmed there is a bonus system tied into the number of games played by Altidore and Defoe for their new clubs. This would land TFC at least three million dollars plus an additional three million dollars per year because of the salary difference between Defoe and Altidore. Altidore is a proven talent that had struggled in Europe, but at 25 years old he has played 76 caps with the United States national team, and has scored 25 goals for his country.
Aug 3, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan (10) and Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco (12) battle for the ball during second half action at the Guiness International Champions Cup semifinals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
This brings us to Giovinco, who many Italian calcio fans know as the “Atomic Ant”. He has impressive footwork, superior work-rate and genuine talent to star in the MLS. The 27-year-old will also come at a hefty price tag with a deal reported to be in the four-year, seven million per season range, so basically getting paid the same as Dion Phaneuf for less, but more production. Giovinco was not getting the playing time he desired with Juventus in Serie A Italian league which prompted him to look for a new deal with his contract expiring in July. Before this season, Giovinco scored 23 times in 70 appearances during a two-season loan to Parma, with Juventus he scored 12 goals in 91 appearances.
Jan 13, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto FC new players Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley are introduced as they pose along with president and CEO of MLSE Tim Leiweke and head coach Ryan Nelsen and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko during a press conference at Real Sports Bar and Grill. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
A number of European teams were rumoured to be after Giovinco; a target for many in the January transfer window. According to Giovinco’s agent, Giovinco craved the opportunity to play in North America and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment told the player of the challenges playing in the MLS. For a player playing in Italy where soccer is the number one sport, moving to Toronto will be a change in scenery because soccer has to contend with hockey, basketball and baseball. Not only does Giovinco have that challenge, but also the difference in competition between MLS and Europe is significant. Add in the fact that he will not get as much recognition if he plays well.
If Giovinco plays as a top player in the MLS he will get recognition for it but when it comes to comparing him to a player playing in the BPL, Serie A or even La Liga, it is difficult to make the argument. Players do not get paid a lot to play in the MLS then they do in the BPL or La Liga but that is because of what soccer means in Europe compared to North America. There are talented players in the MLS, but the best players predominately play in Europe. What Giovinco’s deal with Toronto shows is that European players can be drawn to play in this league.
Jul 30, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with midfielder Steven Gerrard (8) as Gerrard comes out of the game during the second half of a game against Manchester City FC at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Gerrard will be joining the LA Galaxy, who made a major splash years ago when they signed David Beckham in 2007. Brazilian midfielder Kaka became the highest paid player in MLS history when he signed with Orlando City SC with an annual salary of $7.2 million. Thierry Henry moved to play for the New york Red Bulls, along with Australian Tim Cahill.
Sep 27, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) celebrates scoring a goal during the second half in a game against the Portland Timbers at BMO Field. Toronto FC won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
From talking with people that have watched Giovinco play in Italy, one of Giovinco’s assets is that he is a good supporting striker. Defenders will have a tough time defending his explosiveness and ability to get open. It will be exciting to see what other moves TFC has planned but now having Altidore, Giovinco and Michael Bradley as the core of this team for the foreseeable future is making TFC an intriguing team that could provide Toronto with its best chance for a championship, especially with how the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing and the Toronto Raptors looking to recollect themselves. TFC made a splash last season but it is safe to say that these moves makes TFC more of a “Bloody Big Deal”.