Atomic Ant Marches In Early: Giovinco to TFC for the start of the season.
This should come as no surprise to anyone really. There has been plenty of talk recently of Toronto FC ‘hoping’ to have Sebastian Giovinco in Toronto as soon as possible, of Giovinco’s agent in talks with Juventus about getting him out of his contract. Also, the talk at the press conference announcing his signing was of TFC not having to get down to 3 DPs until July 1st; but that has changed with recent reports on Gilberto’s status to saying they had to be roster compliant, with only 3 DPs, by March 1st. Add in the out of nowhere trade of Dominic Oduro, clearing up some more cap space and all signs pointed to this happening.
And finally we get the unofficial confirmation today, first written up in Italy, then confirmed by local reporters, Giovinco will indeed be around for ‘the start of the MLS season’. Details are still scarce right now, ie does this mean there’s a transfer fee now involved, and when exactly will he show up? Will he be with Juventus until the last moment in case they need him, then arriving just before the season starts, like Jermain Defoe did last year?
Hopefully not, as that will mean he’ll have been fully in season from August 2014 to October 2015 at the latest, a very tough ask for anyone, especially given the expectations, the hype, and pay cheque will dump on his tiny atomic shoulders. If the agreement can be reached for him to leave now, that would be for the best – give him a small amount of time to relax and recharge a bit as TFC’s pre season happens. As well as a chance for our fancy technology and analytics to ensure he’ll be in tip top shape and good to go in March and throughout the season. Also, of course a chance to play with his new teammates, get some chemistry going, for Greg Vanney to figure out how he’ll fit in with the team, and exactly what position works best; all that good stuff.
Right now given the large number of midfielders and small amount of forwards on the squad, if Vanney’s going with that 4-3-3 that is being talked about, surely Giovinco’s going to have to be one of the wide forwards rather than your traditional number 10 in midfield. I hope that’s the case, he’ll have more space out there, it’ll be harder for the opposition to crowd out with numbers, easier for him to get isolated against a probably overmatched defender, and if not, if defensive midfielders are forced out wide to help out the full backs, that can only help open up space for others. He obviously wouldn’t be ordered to stay out wide and hug the touchline, he’d be able to drift in from whichever wing he’s on, and given Jozy Altidore’s movement and ability to drift out wide, defending the two of them could be a very confusing nightmare for defenders. Some time in pre season for the two of them to get used to each other and how they fit in with the team would be very helpful.
It does mean he’ll have a baptism of fire into the whole MLS experience as the first 2 months will encompass that 7 game road trip, plenty of long flights and a couple of games on turf (or whatever the hell astroturf gameday grass 3D is, in Orlando) before he gets to make his BMO Field debut.
Anyway, definitely good news that should help TFC survive that initial trip relatively intact.
Now we just have to sit and wait for the other atomic bomb to drop, at the time of writing Gilberto is still TFC property and that window to sell him off to Brazil is rapidly closing. Hopefully for all concerned that happens, I can’t imagine that either TFC or Gilberto want to have to find some kind of trade within MLS. Presumably though Vasco de Gama or whichever team he may be sold to, can easily see the barrel that TFC are currently strapped to so will be happy to wait TFC out to get the best possible deal, for example there are rumours out there that TFC may end up paying a part of his wages. I can’t help but think that if and when details of that deal come out, it’s not going to look good.