Tim Leiweke is on the record as having told fans that one of the players that the club will target as a possible Designated Player signing this winter would come from Serie A, he would be 31-years-old, an attacking player, and have the potential to represent his country and next summer's World Cup before joining the MLS club.
Those were a lot of details to work with and led to a lot of speculation about just how they might have in mind. Some very big names were tossed around as potential signings but it was nothing more than speculation among fans. The names are starting to trickle in though and according to Goal.com the player from Italy that the club are hoping to sign is Alberto Gilardino.
Gilardino is a forward, he plays for Genoa in Serie A, is 31-years-old, and could be headed to the World Cup next summer having represented Italy in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. He ticks all the boxes as Tim Leiweke likes to say in his press conferences.
Gilardino may not be a household name outside of the Italian community in Toronto but for followers of Serie A he is a name they will be familiar with. He has spent time with many of the country's top clubs including making stops at Parma, AC Milan, Fiorentina, and Bologna.
The forward has proven to be a consistent scorer over the course of his career having scored in double figures in a single season eight times in his career. He is closing in on 200 goals in his club career and has added 19 goals in 55 appearances for the Italian National Team.
TFC will likely have to dip into that $25 million war chest of their's if they are going to make this signing. Gilardino remains under contract with Genoa until the summer of 2016 and commands a fairly substantial wage from the Italian club.
He does seem to be the kind of DP that the club should be going after. He has won just about every prize he could over the course of his career having won the World Cup, UEFA Champions League, and Club World Cup along with being named Serie A player of the year back in 2005. Gilardino also seems to have some miles left in him, and hasn't missed any serious time with injuries over his career, and at 31-years of age could contribute in MLS for a number of seasons with any luck.
With TFC's management trio already over in Europe working on potential signings it is likely that they will be in contact (or have already been) with Gilardino in the near future. For fans though any possible signing would not likely be announced until January and the player would not arrive at BMO Field until the summer transfer window following the World Cup.
That is a long time to wait for a player but with the team beginning the DP hunt in earnest now that the season is almost over we can probably expect to see a few more names linked to the club in the coming weeks and months.