The Toronto Star's Cathal Kelly is reporting that Toronto FC are closing in on acquiring some designated player level talent. That is no surprise for anyone who has been following the club in recent months but what might come as a surprise to many is that he is not talking about Jermain Defoe, Alberto Gilardino, Samuel Eto'o, or any other household name that the club has been linked to recently.
His report indicates that along with signing a household name to fill one of the club's available designated player slots they are also looking to secure a younger player who still has the potential to grow into a household name. Kelly indicates that the club would like to sign a player like Defoe or Gilardino to fill that first spot and is not planning on bringing in both players. The second spot would then be used on someone like Brazilian forward Gilberto Oliveira Souza Junior (commonly Gilberto) who Kelly indicates the club is currently working to sign from Internacional in Brazil's top division.
Gilberto has spent the past two seasons out on loan from Internacional but during each of his stints he has proven to be a solid goal scoring threat. The 24-year-old is currently with Portuguesa and finds himself sitting 5th on the scoring charts in Brazil's top division. In 2013 he found the back of the net 14 times in 24 appearances which was the best return of his career.
Having put up impressive numbers like that the 24-year-old has not only managed to catch the eye of Toronto FC. Kelly's report indicates that he also has drawn interest from clubs in a number of top European leagues. That interest will make it harder for TFC to secure his signature and drive up his price but if TFC can get a deal done he could be a promising addition.
Gilberto is a strong forward who does not hesitate to use his size and strength to his advantage. He picks up his share of cautions (8 in 2013) as a result of that style but it also makes him the kind of player who could thrive in the conditions of MLS. Gilberto could be the thunder to go along with the flash that a forward like Defoe would bring with both being able to find the back of the net in different ways.
The caution with Gilberto is that 2013 was his first exceptional season in terms of scoring goals. It could just be a sign that he is now starting to come into his own as an attacker and will be a consistent scoring threat moving forward or it could be an exception. He would not be the first forward to have a good scoring season before returning to the norm the following year. Hopefully, if TFC do manage to sign him the latter scenario will not be the case.
With TFC closing in on Defoe and now Gilberto things are starting to take place on paper. Adding those two players would give TFC one of the league's most threatening attacks over night. They would not complete the puzzle but as Kelly points out the club is also working on some moves within the league including a potential return of the boy from Scarborough, Dwayne De Rosario.
None of the deals are done yet so getting them across the finish line will be the big test for the club. It is easy to target talented players and indicate that you want to sign them but it is hard to actually get those deals done. We saw that first hand with the club's pursuit of Diego Forlan last summer. Just having interest and money to spend is only the smallest part of the equation when it comes to these big deals.
There is reason to be optimistic about these deals getting done and TFC being much better in 2014 but after all of the talk we have heard in recent months fans would be wise to sit back and wait for the club to actually deliver before getting excited.