Remember Thursday when Toronto FC announced to the world, via press release and an article on their official website that they'd signed Tal Ben Haim on loan? Remember thinking, wow, TFC are all over the place right now, but oh well, this is worth a try I guess? Remember chuckling/wincing over that 'one of the top defenders in the EPL for nearly a decade line', trying to avoid the sickly deja vu of a club spinning it's revolving door hard again and hyping up the new entrants way too much, thinking this was getting dangerously close to the good old 'comedy club' days rather than the new professionally run club we all hoped we might have now?
Yeah. Well. About that.
Kevin Payne talked to some of those real journalist types today and among other tidbits (we're the lab rats for young referees, Steven Caldwell and Jeremy Brockie should be available for Saturday's game, changes are going to have to be made to make TFC roster compliant, etc etc) he let it be known that the Ben Haim loan was actually still being negotiated and not in any way a done deal.
The loan itself, the deal with QPR was done, rushed through to beat the deadline, but Ben Haim himself is looking for a longer term commitment before he'll be playing for TFC. This is probably the sort of thing that happens regularly in this sort of situation, only we usually don't hear about it, usually the rumour doesn't become full blown report with official statements and everything. Also, it's understandable really given he's had plenty of success so isn't a hungry guy on the way up looking to prove himself. He's no Hogan Ephraim or John Bostock, with plenty to prove, potential unfulfilled. He's had some relative success at a relatively high level, he'll find someone to give him that last paycheque before he retires. There's no need for him to come over here and play and potentially injure himself without any kind of long term deal ahead of him, jeopardising what might be his last chance to sign that last contract, and other endorsement deals and all that.
Maybe it will all get eventually resolved, TFC will be the team to take the chance he can still perform, and he'll be over here soon, but maybe they won't be able to come to terms and frankly that might well be for the best. Though the situation right now seems like just another chapter in the hilariously inept running of this team, I hope Payne and co swallow their pride and take the hit rather than sign him to the long term deal he wants merely to save face. Bringing in older players like Caldwell and Ben Haim on loan is one thing, there's no harm done if they turn out to be the next Laurent Robert, Mista, insert your own favourite example here, and they get let go quickly. Signing those players to longer term deals really doesn't seem like a good idea for a team rebuilding for the future.
The jokes just keep on coming, but hopefully we'll be able to look back and realise that slipping on this banana skin is what stopped them from walking in front of a bus. Still, might be worth making sure the player's ok with it before announcing anything in the future. Just a thought.