Darren O'Dea, Steven Caldwell, Richard Eckersley, and Darel Russell have all spent time in Toronto FC's defense this season. They have also spent time playing in the English league system just like Toronto's head coach, Ryan Nelsen. The team seems to have an eye on English talent so it should not really come as a surprise to see TFC being named as a potential landing place for Titus Bramble.
The Sunderland defender has played his final game for the club with his contract set to expire this summer. He is now looking for a new club and a number of reports from England are suggesting he could be on his way to MLS. One such report came from fellow SB Nation blog, Roker Report, who even went as far as to throw Toronto FC into the mix as a potential landing point.
The link to TFC is purely speculation at this point but considering the other players that the club has brought in recently would it come as much of a surprise to find out that Nelsen and Payne are actually interested in taking a look at Titus Bramble?
Bramble would come with a handful of questions no matter what MLS club he may end up at. His time at Sunderland was marked by a number of injuries that limited him to just 42 appearances over three seasons. Now that he is closing in on his 32nd birthday it is unlikely that the injury problems are just going to go away. With his knee being the main source of the problems that is concerning as the MLS schedule can be every bit as grueling as that of the Premiership or even the Championship.
There is also the fact that Bramble was one of the highest earners on Sunderland and unless he is willing to take a fairly large pay cut that would rule out a number of potential landing places. After what happened with Olaf Melberg it is a safe bet that MLS would not be too eager to allow any club to extend Bramble a DP level offer.
Add to that the off field issues that have followed Bramble around including being brought in for questioning by police about allegations of rape, sexual assault, and possession of drugs. He was never charged though in any of those incidents which would at least leave the door open for him to secure a work permit to play in the United States as any criminal past can quickly put the brakes on a move to play in the US.
Despite all of the questions marks that surround him Bramble has proven that he is more than capable of being a solid defender when he is fit and in the lineup. Before making the move to Sunderland he enjoyed fairly successful stints with Ipswich Town, Newcastle United, and Wigan Athletic making over 150 Premier League appearances between the three clubs. Bramble also made a name for himself with England's Under-21 squad making 10 appearances for his country but has failed to earn a single cap at the senior level.
What is interesting is that in a number of the reports (including this one) there is the suggestion that MLS would be an easier league for Bramble than playing in the Championship. Yes, it does not have the 46 game schedule of the Championship and multiple cups to potentially deal with but what it lacks in the number of matches it makes up for in travel and playing surfaces. If a player feels his knee can't hold up for a season in the Championship how is it going to survive having to go to places like Gillette Stadium in New England and playing on that surface.
The reports seem to be fairly flimsy at this point as they do not suggest much more than the fact that several MLS teams have been made aware of the player's availability and there may be some interest in him from clubs in MLS. With Bramble under contract until July 1st there is still time for this story to develop and hopefully for some clubs to be named as being interested in him but for now it looks like a longshot that he comes to MLS and even longer that he winds up with TFC despite their habit of signing similar players in recent weeks.
If these initial reports prove to have something to them would Bramble be the kind of player that you would want to see Toronto make a serious push to try and sign?