Dejan Stankovic to join MLS. He will sign for Seattle or Toronto, according to Sky Italy— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 7, 2013
Just a simple tweet from a decently reliable source suggesting that Dejan Stankovic could be trading in his place at Inter Milan for a club in MLS. Palmeri's tweet comes from a report that originated from Sky Italia. There are other sources reporting a similar story (primarily in Italian) with at least one outlet adding the Montreal Impact to the mix along with the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC.
It is pretty clear that Stankovic's time at Inter Milan has come to an end. He only managed to make three appearances for the club this season even with Inter struggling to find results. It was not that long ago that he made 36 appearances in Inter's treble winning 2010-2011 campaign but since then he has seen his minutes dwindle and his role in the team become almost non-existent.
At this stage it does not seem that many clubs in Europe are interested in securing the services of the 34 year-old Serbian so MLS looks like a serious option for him to continue to his playing career. With his ability to play a variety of different positions in the midfield he could be a good option for a number of clubs including Toronto FC.
Stankovic could bring a fair bit of additional quality to Toronto's midfield but the problem for a lot of fans will be his age. At 34 years of age he likely only has a few years left in his playing career at best and TFC are not in a position to be bringing in players that will only help them in the short-term.
Heading to Montreal or Seattle would make a fair bit more sense because both clubs consider themselves to be among the contenders for this year's MLS Cup so adding quality in the short-term could be what puts them over the top. They are in a more competitive position than TFC and with Seattle's slow start behind them both clubs could be serious contenders. The Sounders might not have the cap space to make the move happen unless they make some moves out during the summer window as well.
If the list of possible destinations are TFC, Seattle, and Montreal than the name that immediately jumps out from the bunch is Montreal. It would be TFC if we were talking about a former Premier League player but since Stankovic is coming from Serie A he fits right into the model of the kind of player that the Impact have been signing this past year. They already have a collection of big named players from the league in Marco Di Vaio, Alessandro Nesta, Daniele Paponi, Andrea Pisanu, and Nelson Rivas all with the club already so adding Stankovic would just seem to fit with their approach to building a roster.
So Stankovic has been linked to Toronto FC by a couple of sources and it could prove to be something but the initial reaction is that it is not a move that makes a whole lot of sense for the club at this point in time. The resume on the player is nice with over 100 appearances for Serbia and over 360 Serie A appearances between Lazio and Inter Milan. He has been among the top players in the league for a long time but that is no longer the case.
Stankovic almost certainly still has the quality to be a contributor in MLS but the question would be how long he can keep going at a high level. If Stankovic can come in an turn back the clock like Di Vaio has with the Impact than he could contribute for a handful more years but that is probably the exception to the rule rather than the norm.
The last time Toronto went with an experienced but aging midfielder it was Torsten Frings who proved he could make a contribution when he was fully fit but injuries are always a concern with any players getting well into their thirties. Fans in Toronto saw that with Frings as he went from being a midfield general early in his time with the club to being injured more often than not. Fans also saw that one player, even one as good as Frings or Stankovic, is not going to be enough to turn a terrible squad around and turn them into a winner.
So the rumour is out there and it may well be true but at this point it is hard to see why bringing in Stankovic for a few seasons at most makes sense for Toronto FC. The club has left fans scratching their heads before though and it is clear they are still looking for midfield help so it is too early to rule anything out.