We take a look at the latest reports in respect of Toronto FC’s efforts to sign Lorenzo Insigne and bring back Ayo Akinola.
When we last wrote about Lorenzo Insigne, one report suggested there was a 75 percent chance he would sign for Toronto FC. Based on the latest news surrounding the Italian international, it no longer seems quite so certain.
As per mlssoccer.com, Insigne’s agent Vicente Pascante recently spoke to Italian media outlet Corriere dello Sport about the rumours connecting his client to TFC. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano translated the comments and the main takeaway from the Reds’ perspective is that a move to Toronto is “a possibility”.
It is well known that Insigne’s preference is to re-sign with Napoli. However, as Pascante himself admitted in his comments to Corriere dello Sport, the two sides are still far away from agreeing a new deal.
As previously reported by the Toronto Sun‘s Steve Buffery, Napoli are offering a deal which would result in a 50 percent pay cut. In fairness, this seems very unreasonable for a player who is still performing at a high level.
The knock-on effect of this is there is a lot of interest from around Europe; hardly surprising when considering the pedigree of the UEFA Euro 2020 winner. As such — on the surface at least — it would seem Toronto FC will have a tough time convincing him to accept a move to MLS, at least at this stage of his career. (He is currently only 30.)
However, if nothing else, it is at least a positive step that Pascante has acknowledged TFC as a possibility. As noted by mlssoccer.com, Insigne’s agent previously dismissed any potential move to MLS as completely fake.
Admittedly, the main reason for the winger even considering a move to Toronto is money. He would become the highest-paid player in club history, with the contract offer possibly even representing a record-breaking amount for MLS.
One final thing to consider at this stage is that nothing will be resolved soon. When speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Pascante did say we would have to (at least) wait until after Jan. 2.
Of more certainty right now, is the latest news surrounding Ayo Akinola. As we previously wrote, Toronto FC have been in regular contact with the forward, who will be out of contract at the end of this year.
Now, it seems the ongoing negotiations are set to come to a positive conclusion. Speaking to Buffery on Friday, TFC president Bill Manning said:
"“The talks progressed in a very positive direction. We’re in a good place and we hope to finalize (a new contract) shortly.”"
If and when the deal is agreed, this will be excellent news for everyone concerned. Akinola is a rising star for the Reds, after announcing himself on the MLS stage with a team-leading nine goals in just 15 regular season games during 2020.
The 21-year-old took a step back this last season, albeit in part due to suffering a season-ending ACL injury. He still had his moments though, scoring three goals in 11 regular season games and also making his international debut for Canada.
What’s your position on the likelihood of Toronto FC signing Insigne? Are you optimistic, 50/50, or not convinced it’s going to happen? Let us know in the comments section below.