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Vitti as DP?
February 4, 2009, 9:56 PM
Filed under: Designated Player, Pablo Vitti, Rumor, Toronto FC

From MLS-Rumors.net

Back to the reason why we exist. To bring you any and all rumors that come across our path.

This one fell into our mailbag moments ago:

Please keep my name anonymous but I can tell you that Toronto FC is close to signing their DP and they are finishing up the final details of the contract. He should be announced before opening day. My hunch is that they’re looking to make an announcement within two weeks. Keep up the good work, and don’t watch the haters.

It has been rumored that the DP Toronto is looking to sign is Pablo Vitti from Independiente.



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.

Source: Click Here



DeRo turned down TFC in ’07
January 23, 2009, 8:26 AM
Filed under: Designated Player, Dwayne DeRosario, Toronto FC

In its first two seasons, Toronto FC has consistently packed its stadium and turned a profit, which are two accomplishments much more established MLS teams can only dream about. In year three, it is committed to getting things right on the field, and completed a vital step in that process by signing attacker Dwyane De Rosario, a native of nearby Scarborough, Ont., to a new contract.

Terms of the four-year deal aren’t known. What is known is that TFC didn’t upgrade De Rosario to a Designated Player, as D.C. United and Columbus have done with Luciano Emilio and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, respectively. But since the new contract supersedes the two years that were remaining on his previous deal, under league rules it can use allocation money to increase his compensation, and/or buy down his cap number.

A source said DeRosario turned down a trade to Toronto two years ago that would have made him a DP at a salary of $500,000 per year. Since TFC is rather flush with allocation money it has accumulated through trades as well as missing the playoffs in its first two seasons, it’s likely De Rosario is making more than he turned down back then.

Source: Click Here



DeRo to europe?
January 8, 2009, 6:56 PM
Filed under: Designated Player, Dwayne DeRosario, MLS Superdraft, Rumor, Toronto FC

Talk about sitting pretty in the draft. The BMO bunch will select at Nos. 2 and 4 overall next week in St. Louis. Which way will they go?

They still need some help along the back line, but the most pressing need remains at forward. Chad Barrett and Danny Dichio might be too much the same; both are physical target strikers. Is there a player in the draft capable of making an instant impact as a second striker? That’s what technical director Mo Johnston and manager John Carver must decide.

Of course, Johnston and Carver remain interested in pursuing a designated player, and that unnamed biggie is more likely to fill the forward spot. So, the BMO brain trust may look elsewhere to find a much-needed center back, someone with a little speed, but someone who can stabilize the back line in moments of pressure. TFC was tied for last in the league in 2008 in goals allowed over the last 15 minutes.

The other shoe that needs to fall here is Dwayne De Rosario, and for more than one reason. “De Ro” may yet land in Europe instead of settling into soccer life in his hometown. And if he stays, where will he play? At attacking midfield, where he was so successful in Houston? If he’s there, what of playmaker Amado Guevara? Or will De Rosario line up as that second striker, in front of Guevara?

Source: Click Here



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



Derosario asking for $600k
January 5, 2009, 8:12 AM
Filed under: Designated Player, Dwayne DeRosario, Rumor, Toronto FC

Although progress continues to be made, TFC is still looking to find the right mix of allocation money and the real stuff to bring DeRo home.

As I reported yesterday, it was originally thought that De Rosario was looking for about a $75,000 raise to $400,000/year. However, new information is now surfacing that suggests that DeRo is looking for something similar to Guillermo Barros Schelotto‘s deal with Columbus in 2008.

DeRo would not be a DP player, but would be making DP money — likely about $600,000.

Toronto officials are still hopeful that something can be worked out prior to team officials heading down to the draft. However, there are still details to be worked out and it is possible that things could be pushed back to the end of January.

Since allocation money has an expiry date, TFC will need to work DeRo’s contract carefully — especially if, as expected, the plan is to bring in a DP as well.

Source: Click Here



Big announcement on Jan 5, 2009?
December 31, 2008, 4:07 PM
Filed under: Announcement, Designated Player, Dwayne DeRosario, Rumor

TFC Bloggers at The 24th Minute are speculating a BIG TFC related announcement on Jan 5th…

“Multiple sources have told me to keep Jan. 5 circled in the calendar.”

Source: Click Here



Rumor: Paul Stalteri to TFC?
December 21, 2008, 7:23 PM
Filed under: Designated Player, Rumor, Toronto FC

Canadian Press just reported that Canadian international and former Toronto Lynx bicycle-kick specialist Paul Stalteri has just been released by Tott’n’m ‘Otspur.


Apparently the parting is mutual, as the 31-year-old fullback wants to seek new opportunities with other clubs.

TFC Designated Player conspiracists will now insist that Stalteri is clear to Toronto as a high-priced DP.


I think … not.


For one thing, Stalteri is insisting he wants to remain in Europe. For another, he lacks DP marquee status, and is neither the striker nor central defender the Fort York Redcoats so desperately need.


But any time one of Canada’s best pro soccer players hits the free agent market, a bit of healthy speculation is certainly in order. Stalteri certainly sounds like a man who’s been totally dedicated to healing an injury and impressing new Spurs manager Harry Redknapp. I don’t think he’s been spending a lot of time on the phone talking MLS with TFC GM Mo Johnston.

Source: Click Here



DeRosario holding out for dp money?
December 19, 2008, 11:37 PM
Filed under: Designated Player, Mo Johnston, Rumor, Signing, Toronto FC

… Looks like he has finally broken his silence.

Sort of.
A week after Toronto FC announced they had traded for the top Canadian player in Major League Soccer, we’ve heard very little from the team, and even less from De Rosario himself, about when he might arrive for a formal re-introduction to local media and fans.
As far as the media are concerned De Rosario is incommunicado these days. He’s not answering his phones (believe me, I’ve dialed every one) or his email (I tried that first). He did, however, post a blurb on his personal web site earlier this week, thanking Dynamo fans for supporting him during his three years in Houston.
But a message for TFC fans?
None on his site yet, and nothing relayed through the team or local media.
Now, the team might complain later that I’m missing the point, and that De Rosario has indeed spoken out on the team’s web site. But when you watch the video, note the Dynamo-orange trim on his T-shirt. This is archived footage, probably shot sometime around the All-Star game.
Monday morning the folks at TFC told me they would schedule a De Rosario news conference sometime this week — sooner rather than later. As the week wore on, sooner bled into later and I learned the team had pushed the news conference back to sometime in January, though nobody was quite sure when.
I’m not saying the team or the player are trying to hide anything, but lack of information on the biggest deal  the team has ever completed sure seems strange.
In lieu of a formal news conference I started making calls to different folks, trying to pull together a happy-homecoming -for-the-holidays type feature looking at De Rosario, his family and the impact his return to Toronto will have on the local and national soccer scenes.
Certain folks were willing to talk, like the Toronto Lynx and TFC officials like Paul Beirne and Tom Anselmi, who eagerly answered all my questions.
But from people closer to the action I’ve heard little but silence.
Silence from both De Rosario and his agent, and silence from De Rosario’s father, Tony, who said he’d love to interview but couldn’t until his son gave the green light. But that wouldn’t happen, he said, until his son, who was still in Houston, cleared some up some things. Beyond that he couldn’t elaborate.
Fair enough. Tony’s clearly close to his son, but it’s not his job to deal with this stuff.
But the lack of clear communication from those directly involved is baffling.
And here’s the thing about silence: it breeds speculation.
Right now, according to the Houston Chronicle, the speculation is that De Rosario wants a raise.

If you didn’t read the whole story I’ll point you to the important part.

The Dynamo tried to keep De Rosario happy in Houston, signing him to a long-term deal midway through the 2007 season that made him the team’s best-paid player at $325,000 (the league maximum at the time). Apparently, that wasn’t enough.


De Rosario, 30, asked to be traded to Toronto because that is home and because he is looking for a new long-term deal that includes a significant bump in compensation, although word from Toronto is that his new team might not be willing or able to comply.

Is that scenario plausible?
Sure.
De Rosario is the the best and most marketable player TFC has ever acquired, so it’s reasonable to think he’d want a salary that reflects that status.
He has also been critical of BMO Field’s synthetic turf in the past. Couple that with his age — he’ll be 31 in May — and it’s not hard to imagine him wanting a bonus in exchange for the daily pounding that is training on BMO’s turf.
But does that mean this is what’s actually happening?
Not at all.
Even a plausible scenario can be wrong, and I wanted the truth. So I called TFC general manager Mo Johnston, hoping he could clarify things for me. After all, he seemed cheerful enough when he told Sportsnet’s Gerry Dobson that the delay in delivering De Rosario simply gave the team time to make a “big splash” in the new year.
But Johnston didn’t tell me about any “big splashes.” Instead he returned my call in a confrontational mood, asking why I’d called him.
Because I’m working on a story. That’s the only reason I ever call him.
He wasn’t happy that I had already called Beirne and Anselmi, and took my call to him as proof that I was trying to invent a De Rosario story where none existed.
Um… ok.
If I really were trying to concoct a story without facts I would avoid all the people directly involved (i.e. De Rosario, Beirne, Anselmi, Johnston), then field (justified) complaints from TFC that I’d written a big story without bothering to call the key players in it.
Instead, I go straight to the source and Johnston is still suspicious.
Go figure.
Anyway, Johnston assured me that the De Rosario deal was complete and that the two-time MLS Cup MVP was still in Houston but would arrive here eventually.
Fine.
But when I asked him to address the speculation about De Rosario wanting more money, he didn’t dismiss the rumours as much as he dismissed me, telling me sarcastically to “trust your instincts.”

Okay.

We’ve got a team and their star player both incommunicado for a week after the biggest transaction in either party’s history. Introductory news conference tentatively scheduled for this week is suddenly pushed back to some nebulous date in the new year. Rumours percolate that the star player wants a raise.
In a situation like this my instincts tell me to approach the people directly involved and get them to confirm or deny speculation. I’m in the truth business, so my instincts tell me to seek clarity and convey that clear message to readers.
And right now, in the absence of any clear answers from Johnston or De Rosario, my instincts tell me to keep questioning.
Johnston’s comments about a “big splash” in January convinced Sportsnet’s Dobson that “something is up” with Toronto FC.
After talking to Johnston and listening to a week of silence from De Rosario’s camp, I’ve reached the same conclusion.
Something is up.
But I still don’t even pretend to know what.

Source: Click Here



DP announcement coming soon!
December 19, 2008, 12:49 PM
Filed under: Designated Player, Rumor

For what it is worth, TFC play-by-play voice and host of The Fan590’s Soccer Show

A little birdy tells me there will be an announcement (about a DP) in a couple weeks.

Nigel Reed wrapped up tonight’s Soccer Show with this:  Combine that with Gerry Dobson‘s subtle as a baseball bat to the head hint yesterday and, well…

We’ll take more stock in Reed’s comments than Dobson’s, if only because he’s more connected to the team. But, ultimately any fan knows that nothing is nothing until the player is holding the strip up at the presser.

Source: Click Here