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no dp for tfc to start ’09 season
January 7, 2009, 5:43 PM
Filed under: Designated Player, Toronto FC

The headline to this piece may shock and surprise many of you out there but as 2008 turns into 2009 all I keep reading everywhere across this great country of ours is of an impending news conference where Toronto FC will introduce to the world their new designated player.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you that’s just not going to happen.

The letters DP next to the team name have been thrown around like wildfire recently with absolutely no thought into what this means for the franchise going forward. I know, though, that plenty of thought is being put into it at Toronto FC HQ and the prognosis remains as cautious to this plan as ever.

Its over 12 months ago at their end of season party for supporters, that a member of the club’s senior management told me that the success rate for designated players in this league is not good. Its something that has been reiterated to me again recently and its difficult to argue with his stance when you look at the facts. From the list of MLS DP’s in 2008 – David Beckham, Marcelo Gallardo, Juan Pablo Angel, Luciano Emilio, Claudio Lopez, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Claudio Reyna – you could make the case that only three of them really earned their money this year.

Part of building a successful team on the field includes team unity and the impact of adding someone on such a high wage is something that has to worry team management.

I spoke with the club’s Senior Director of Business Operations Paul Beirne about that today. He said: “We have good character in our locker room and that’s not always easy to find. We are very cognisant about the balance in the locker room. We do not want to upset what we have. We have to make sure that we get the right guy.” He also added that their position on getting a DP has not changed due to the current economic climate.

A more realistic option for Toronto FC to acquire a DP this season is when the summer transfer window opens up in June. With the acquisition of Dwayne de Rosario and the re-signing Carl Robinson and Amado Guevara, the club already have a lot of money invested in players that does not give them too much flexibilty to have another $400,000 cap hit, which is what a designated player would do. Should a DP be signed during mid-season, however, then the team’s cap hit will be considerably less, possibly as low as $200,000 depending on when the player signs. There is also a much better chance that their target will also be available on a free transfer as many contracts on footballers in Europe run until the end of their domestic seasons.

So what does this mean for Toronto FC on the field this season? Paul Beirne is clearly happy with one area of the team: “Carl and Amado are both really excited to be playing together with Dwayne and I think they makes that area on the field near the top of the league.”

Its tough to argue with that but clearly the team still needs work in defence and up front and with the MLS Superdraft just seven days away its obvious that the roster as it stands today will still be very much different when the first ball is kicked in Kansas City ten weeks from Saturday.

One guarantee I can give you, though, is that there will be no designated player in a Toronto FC kit that day.

Source: Click Here

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