Twitter is reporting that Toronto FC and River Plate have both made offers for Lucas Melano from Club Atlético Belgrano. River's interest in the player has been made clear in recent weeks and it also seems that he has attracted interest from clubs in Italy but Toronto being added to the mix is relatively new.
It seemed that the initial link between Melano and TFC seemed to come from this site despite the article which was linked in reports about Melano not actually suggesting that he was a target for the club. His name just came up in a list of speculation about players from Argentina that could fit the description of an Argentine forward who could be signed as a young designated player.
There appears to be a lot more to this though as at least one source on twitter is suggesting that Toronto have made a bid for a player and could be set to spend a fair bit of money to try and sign him ahead of the other interested clubs.
Partial ownership of players is nothing new in South America as it allows teams to sell a player but still protect their future interest should the player move on for big money. It is not common in MLS though so it would be interesting to see if the league would allow a club to make a partial purchase of a player like that tweet is suggesting.
If Toronto do succeed in purchasing 70% of the players rights it would mean that Melano would join Toronto on a full-time basis but the club would have to purchase the remaining 30% from Belgrano at some point down the road. If they splash out 2.7 million USD for 70% of the player it would suggest that the total value of the deal would be in the range of 4 million should Toronto eventually secure his complete rights. That would be a fairly high price to pay but considering the fact that Belgrano have likely received offers from other clubs for the player he was never going to come cheap.
Toronto's offer for the player is being reported at nearly twice that of River Plate but that alone does not assure that they will wind up signing the player. Melano is a 20-year-old forward who was part of Argentina's U20 team and has attracted interested from a variety of clubs in recent years.
This is also not the first time that Melano has been linked to a MLS club as he was previously connected to the Seattle Sounders. If the Sounders interest in the player from last year was serious it could mean that they still have Melano on their discovery claims list which would be another complication for a potential move to Toronto. It would be a minor one though as the last transfer window showed that the going rate for a player's rights is a late round draft pick as it was for the likes of Mikel Silvestre and Nigel Reo Coker.
With Newell's Old Boys constantly stringing TFC along these reports could indicate that the club have made the decision to move on to a different target. If that is the case it would be wise as the summer window in MLS is not that long and it would be foolish for the management to get locked in on a single player and risk potentially not making any key additions to the roster.
With Matias Laba already on the roster it seems that Toronto are focused on adding young talent to the squad from Argentina. It seems to be a wise approach though as the country is a hotbed for young talent and many of the clubs are motivated sellers as player sales are how they keep their books balanced.