There remains a lack of clarity over whether it was the decision of Toronto FC or Sebastian Giovinco to move on in a different direction.
As reported by Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press on Wednesday, Sebastian Giovinco has agreed a deal to join Sampdoria. In the process, this apparently closes the door on his time with Toronto FC.
However, there remains a certain lack of clarity over what happened during contract negotiations between Giovinco and TFC. As far as we knew, his preference was to sign a new deal with his former club.
In the early stages, it was believed the 2015 MLS MVP was asking for too much money. However, president Bill Manning had recently said this was no longer an issue, with the forward insisting his priority was to finish his playing career in Toronto.
So what happened? As per the Toronto Sun‘s Steve Buffery, Giovinco told Sampdoria’s official website:
"“As you all know, I had been training with Toronto until 10 days ago. I had almost closed a deal with them, but then it collapsed. I was told that I was not in their plans.”"
Now contrast this with Manning’s take on the situation. As per CBC Sports, he said:
"“Honestly it was great to have him around for some days; I have a tremendous amount of respect for Seba. But then the way a lot of these different things came together, it seemed that he felt that the best option was going back to Italy.”"
Clearly there is a difference of perspective here. However, you would like to believe the reason no deal was agreed between TFC and Giovinco was not down to a misunderstanding.
We will likely never know the full facts of what happened, but can still consider other available information to determine your own opinion. As noted in Manning’s comments, he said Giovinco believed his best option was to return to Italy.
However, as per Buffery, the four-time MLS All-Star said he did not receive a call from Samporia until three days after Toronto FC apparently told him he was not in their plans. If true, this would explain why he had little issue accepting their offer, after previously stating his desire to re-sign with the Reds.
On the flip side, Waking the Red‘s Michael Singh writes that a source for Toronto FC said the club was surprised by Giovinco’s move to Sampdoria. Certainly, the deal came together very quickly.
The chance to play back home in Serie A would be an understandable pull. However, you have to wonder — and possibly assume — the money on offer from Sampdoria was also more than what TFC were offering.
Another important piece of information to consider, is TFC announcing the acquisition of $575,000 in General Allocation Money from the New York Red Bulls. This announcement by the communications department came on the same day as Giovinco’s deal with Sampdoria was officially confirmed.
The Reds also received the 14th position in MLS’ Allocation Order, while sending the second position in the Allocation Order and an international roster slot to the Red Bulls. There was clearly some connection to Giovinco signing elsewhere.
Ultimately, all this additional information confirms is that both sides are offering a different narrative on what happened. As such, it is still unclear whether it was TFC or Giovinco who ultimately made the final decision to go in a different direction.
In closing, it is worth noting that Giovinco’s contract with Sampdoria is only until the end of the current Serie A season. He has also confirmed he will continue to live in Toronto in the future.
The Turin, Italy native still has a lot of love for TFC, while injury issues up front for the Reds could conceivably have them reaching out to him. As such, consider the door ajar rather than closed, when it comes to Giovinco’s time with Toronto FC.
Do you believe Giovinco’s time with Toronto FC is over for good? Or do you see it as a reasonable possibility he will once again play for them at some stage? Let us know in the comment section below.