After a 6-17-11 season resulting in 29 points, third worst in the MLS, Toronto FC is making transfers that would rival that of most European clubs. With three deals already locked up and the potential for more to come, the Reds might be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.
Promising Brazilian striker Gilberto was the first major signing for Toronto FC, with the transfer being confirmed mid-December. Gilberto became the Canadian club’s second Designated Player, joining Matias Laba. He was the sixth-leading scorer in Brazil’s Série A in 2013, as his Portuguesa side was relegated after a 17th place finish. Still only 24 years old, Gilberto has the potential to lead the line for the Reds for many years to come.
Next was the return of Toronto FC’s golden boy, Dwayne De Rosario. The all-time leading scorer for the Canadian Men’s National Team returns for a second spell with the Reds after DC United opted not to pick up his option. It’s also the third time De Rosario will feature for a Toronto-based club after he started his career with the Toronto Lynx, currently playing in the USL Premier Development League. Toronto FC picked up De Rosario in the second stage of the MLS re-entry draft. His veteran presence will be crucial this upcoming season, with new additions still jelling.
The third addition will reportedly be announced Monday and is even bigger than the previous two. Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe will join Gilberto to lead the line for Toronto FC. The England international has endured a difficult past few years for the Hotspurs in the Premier League and has been looking for an exit all season long. The Reds have opened the door for him to link up with former Tottenham teammate and current Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen. Defoe would be a blockbuster signing similar to that of Thierry Henry for the New York Red Bulls or Robbie Keane for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Toronto FC is also chasing Bradley Orr, who currently plays for Blackburn. The 31-year-old defender has barely seen the field this season and a move to the MLS could be on the cards. A seasoned English veteran can only benefit the up-and-coming Canadian club.
Last, but certainly not least, Michael Bradley has been rumored to be joining the Reds on a six-month loan deal. Adding the United States Men’s National Team’s midfield would be nothing short of a coup. Bradley would undoubtedly add a piece of creativity and strength that can change the club from pretenders to contenders.
The three additions Toronto FC has already added would satisfy most clubs around the world. Adding those final two pieces, however, could make the Reds the team to beat in the MLS this season, or at the very least allow them to challenge in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.