– Toronto FC Transfers, Trades, Signings & Rumors

No DP ’til summer ’09?
January 24, 2009, 1:30 AM
Filed under: Designated Player, Julian De Guzman, Mo Johnston, Toronto FC

Dwayne De Rosario stole the show on Thursday, as he finally put pen to paper and signed a 4-year deal with Toronto FC, in a move that Mo Johnston called the biggest signing TFC has made, and will make ever, at least in the next 3 to 4 years.  From that comment, I had to push the Designated Player issue once again, something I am getting almost as tired about asking, as I’m sure the TFC brass are getting about hearing the question.  Fact is though, it is a big issue.  From what I heard from the men who run TFC, it is a case of don’t hold your breath!

Mo alluded to the opinion that he feels De Rosario is a DP calibre player, something I have agreed with in the past, and that he see’s this signing as that type of move.  However, Mo says that he is still looking, but will not be forced into making a mistake.  I found one comment very interesting; he says that he does not want to sign the typical DP type, who is approaching, or who is in his mid-30’s.  This is a refreshing mindset given the unsuccessful transactions that have seen the league introduce some ineffective 30 somethings over recent years.  Of course you get the odd gem, Cuatomac Blanco being the shining stone of course, but so far there have been more misses than hits.  So we can rule out TFC targeting a Luis Figo, Alex Del Piero, Nuno Gomes type, at least for the time being.

Mo fully admits, his ideal DP would be Julian De Guzman, as he has all the qualities TFC desire, namely he is a Canadian star!  As much as Mo has been maligned for putting his club ambition ahead of Canadian development, this is an example of just where he stands on the issue, ie, if there was enough Canadian quality, he’d be signing them.  That is an argument for a different day though.  Of course at the moment, Julian has no intention of leaving Europe.

Mo went on to tell me that he still has irons in the fire, and that he is always thinking outside the box.  For example he says there is a young South American, who he was interested in signing, perhaps as a DP, but nothing came of it.   For the record, Pablo Vitti is still very much in the works, the hold up is being that his club Independiente are making the move complicated.  If the loan deal does go through, Mo and John Carver will be ecstatic, both men raved about his ability. He would not be a DP obviously though.

Speaking to MLSE VP and COO Tom Anselmi, I was further inclined to believe that the DP has been put on the back burner.  Anselmi says that it is far from a priority at the moment, and was also firm in the assertion that De Ro will have a DP like impact on the team.   I asked him whether the ownership still has a blank cheque ready to be filled in if the right man is available, and he gave an emphatic yes.  However he went on to say that it is more likely that IF the club goes that route, it will not be until the summer at the earliest, when there are more players available.  Of course, a mid-season signing is also more cap-friendly, and as Mo mentioned, with several players already in the 200k + bracket, it won’t be easy to manage too many more big salaries.

I still feel that this would be a perfect year to acquire a DP, especially with the the spine of the current team entering their swansongs.  If TFC want to win with Carl Robinson, Jim Brennan, Greg Sutton, Amado Guevera, and Danny Dichio, then this might be the year to do it! However the caution and patience being shown is commendable, and I do believe it is down to football, and not budget, that we may not see a DP here this season.

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