A report indicates Fabian Johnson is looking to move to MLS. We look at if Toronto FC should be in contention to sign the US international.
At one stage MLS were reportedly threatening to lock out the players. Fortunately common sense prevailed, meaning Toronto FC and the rest of the league can now look forward to the return of football.
The season will resume with a World Cup-style tournament in Florida, involving all 26 MLS teams in six groups. TFC is in Group C, along with the Montreal Impact, D.C. United and New England Revolution.
The tournament has a lot at stake. Each team’s three group stage games will count towards the MLS 2020 regular season standings and the overall winner of the tournament will clinch a Concacaf Champions League berth.
Toronto FC are well-placed to make a good run, as a result of being one of the most consistent MLS teams in recent years. They have qualified for the playoffs in four of the five previous seasons, appeared in three of the last four MLS Cup finals and won one championship.
However, a team should never rest on their laurels and should always look for ways to improve the roster. In this respect, some intriguing news over the weekend is worth considering for the Reds.
As per a report from Mlssoccer.com, US international Fabian Johnson is in discussions with multiple MLS teams. It is unclear if TFC is one of these teams; regardless, they should be involved in any negotiations.
After all, we are talking about a player with considerable experience playing at the top level in German football, with Borussia Mochengladbach. Johnson has 57 caps for the USMNT and offers versatility, with his ability to play as both a fullback and a winger.
The 32-year-old even has some connections at TFC from his time playing for the United States, which could help him settle in quickly. These connections include Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez.
The only concern relates to Johnson not playing much for Borussia Mochengladbach this season. He has only made seven overall appearances and is currently recovering from an injury.
Assuming they aren’t already one of the multiple MLS team reportedly in negotiations with Johnson, Toronto FC should definitely reach out to him. However, we then have the issue of how realistic it actually is to expect him to end up in Southern Ontario.
The Munich, West Germany native is on the MLS Allocation List, despite not playing for the USMNT since 2017. Due to making it all the way to the MLS Cup final last season, TFC are second-last in the MLS Allocation List rankings.
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If the Reds can somehow overcome this obstacle, we then have the issue of money. There are two reports out there, with either one representing a challenge for the team.
As per Mlssoccer.com, Johnson is apparently seeking a Targeted Allocation Money-level salary. How much money TFC have available for such a contract, will be compromised by the deal Bradley signed prior to this season.
The other report has Johnson allegedly wanting to sign a Designated Player deal. This would be a non-starter for Toronto FC, who already have three designated players on their roster.
Ultimately, it is extremely unlikely TFC will be in a position to sign Johnson. However, due to his connections with the team and any preference he might have to join a perennial contender, they must still perform their due diligence and at least reach out to him.
What is your opinion of Johnson? Leaving aside the likelihood of Toronto FC actually signing the US international, do you believe they should at least have discussions with him or is it a waste of valuable time? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.