After a season in which Toronto FC finished second to last in the Eastern Conference, the winds of change are blowing through the Six. Bob Bradley, after leaving LAFC, is back as coach and athletic director, which means he will be responsible for everything from roster decisions to roster. As Toronto decides what to do with his designated player spots, they began by signing Italy international Lorenzo Insigne from Napoli with him during the summer transfer window.
Napoli can hand the keys to attacking Victor Osimhen without having to worry about how to replace Insigne during the current season with him there all summer. As the 30-year-old currently contributing to Napoli with four goals and four assists in 14 starts, a deal had to be too good for Insigne to sign on the dotted line. But the terms could eclipse any contract handed over in MLS history.
For context, the deal is reported by CBS football insider Fabrizio Romano at a base salary of around $ 12.5 million. Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez make around $ 6 million a year before bonuses. In Toronto, Alejandro Pozuelo is at $ 4.6 million while Jozy Altidore is at $ 3.6 million. But when the nominated players have a similar cap, the full salary doesn’t matter if the property is willing to pay the money.
But even with that, there’s the concern of whether Insigne will be worth it. In making that decision, Toronto will be in championship or bust mode in much the same way as the LAFC project Bradley was fired from. They have some history of doing that job with Sebastian Giovinco’s run in the league ending in an MLS Cup, setting the league’s points record at the time, and a total of 120 goals in 114 appearances.
That’s quite the bar for anyone to cross, but there are also more miles on Insigne’s legs at this point. Giovinco only played 2,000 minutes played three times before coming to MLS, against Insigne who accomplished it eight times without counting international appearances. Giovinco was also two years younger when he moved to MLS.
There is also the question of what Insigne’s motivation is to take the step as it could also mark the end of his international career. Winning in MLS is not so much of a motivation for a player who is already competing for the Scudetto, which is why such an impressive salary must be offered. As the league seeks to sell itself as a stepping stone to Europe, Insigne could be a throwback to the days when MLS was considered a retirement league.
While that doesn’t mean Insigne will be a bust in MLS as he could be one of the most talented players to set foot in the league, there is immense potential to bust in a move like this. Toronto has made plenty of front office mistakes before, including hanging on to expensive players for too long, and they could repeat it if this move isn’t handled properly. Plus, setting the bar so high for someone new to the league could lead them to failure and just look at Javier Hernandez replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the LA Galaxy in 2020 for an example of what can go wrong. first year.
Toronto wants to skip the rebuilding period to reach the top of MLS which can be done, but will Bob Bradley take them down for short term gains?