John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
Hail Cesar? Today Toronto FC confirmed that they've signed journeyman Brazilian midfielder Julio Cesar as the newest member of TFC's still thin midfield.
Well, yesterday this story got all the confirming it really needed as pretty much everyone's source told them that yes it was happening, and Kevin Payne going as far as to provide quotes to the Canadian Press.
The official unveiling was thus going to be a bit of a damp squib, and so they didn't even bother trying to make a big deal out of it, I woke up, checked twitter and saw people mentioning it, and there it was on the website, all official and confirmed in a low key 5 paragraph statement. They didn't even bother with the usual 'as per club policy, terms and conditions not released line. It's those terms and conditions of course that will reveal a lot about whether this is a good signing or not, specifically what kind of salary he's pulling in, hopefully a sharp decrease form the $252,000 he made last season with Sporting Kansas City.
The other part of that will be exactly what role he plays and how often he plays it. The obvious answer to that would seem to be as a back up to Torsten Frings in the defensive midfield role (are they going to play them both together? That would be oooooooold) enabling the German's workload to be managed better, as well as providing cover in central defence. More aggressive speculation is going down the path of Cesar replacing Frings, suggesting TFC might buy out the DP's contract to free up the cap space to spend elsewhere, something I'd still classify as unlikely, but a move that's at least worth taking a serious look at.
My favourite quote about this pick-up is the following from Kevin Payne, from this CP article:
"We're looking for men, we're looking for real character on this team," he said . "We're going to have a lot of young players too. We're going to invest money in young players but we need to have the right people around to teach those young players what it takes to be successful and not just assume that a young player, because he's a great soccer player, is going to walk out on the field and be successful.
I love that. Let's build a proper team, then bring the younger players through that, rather than just tossing the youngsters to the wolves like they did with Aaron Maund last year. Yes developing young players, especially Canadians is important, but let's build a proper team/organisation first for them to grow within. This signing in and of itself isn't going to make or break anything, and how effective he is on the pitch as the years catch up to him remains to be seen, but I like the idea and the attitude behind it.