The news started this morning when ESPN FC analyst Taylor Twellman tweeted about it, and since then the story has just taken off. Now it seems to be confirmed that US Men’s National Team midfielder Michael Bradley is set to leave Italian giants AS Roma to sign with Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. Just saying that out loud sends chills down my spine— arguably the three best national team players will be plying their trade in North America (Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and now Bradley).
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 8, 2014
This move will be a positive for all parties involved as now Bradley will be seeing consistent playing time which he was not seeing at Roma. I wrote a little over a week ago how Bradley should seek a loan during this January transfer window but a full-on transfer, let alone one to MLS, was not even on the radar.
The news may not be what national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann wants to hear, but the only way for a player to get better and keep his fitness levels peaked is to see game action no matter where it is. Bradley was hardly seeing the field, having played in only 36.27 percent of available first-team minutes as of Dec 30.
For Toronto FC, this offseason just continues to get better and better for the club who already signed 24-year-old striker Gilberto from Internacional of Brazil and are expected to announce the signing of England international Jermain Defoe from Tottenham Hotspur early next week.
When the Bradley signing goes through it will mean that Toronto FC has four designated players under contract and they will need to get rid of one as per league rules. That odd-man out looks like it will be 22-year-old defensive midfielder Matias Laba, who would make an immediate impact on numerous clubs around the league. The club could attempt to renegotiate Laba’s deal to bring it below the Designated Player mark.
Reports indicate that Bradley will join the club immediately to be able to have a full pre-season of training with them.