Well, it's looking like Tim Leiweke might be getting himself the big recognisable name this transfer window as the chatter around a possible TFC move for Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan is intensifying. I feel like I heard it months ago, thrown out there as a laughable never going to happen kind of signing after he expressed his interest in moving to MLS, but now it seems like it might actually be happening with a lot of twitter talk this afternoon.
As far as I can tell, it was Steven Goff, generally a very reliable source who brought it up again recently as a realistic option, just a casual sentence at the end of this July 3rd preview of DC.s game in Seattle.
As for Diego Forlan, the Uruguayan superstar who has whet the appetite of desperate DCU supporters, I hear if he ends up in MLS this summer, Toronto FC is primed to sign him. Stay tuned for more details on this developing angle.....
He noted on twitter today that Kevin Payne didn't respond to text message questions about this, so read into that what you will.
There's a noticeable if in that sentence of course, and it's not unreasonable to suggest he'd be weighing up plenty of options, it'll come down to if TFC is willing to pony up enough cash to offset the drop in prestige such a move might involve. Forlan is after all only very recently removed from plenty of successful years in Europe, played last season for Internacional in Brazil and he also of course just finished playing in the Confederations Cup for Uruguay, last seen missing a penalty versus Italy, maybe we don't give him that responsibility, so yeah, he'll have options.
Goff tweeted that he's heard it's a multi year, probably multi million dollar offer from TFC so it seems like they're seriously going for it, and there's probably a decent chance that this comes off. He's a big name for sure, and there's obvious issues with signing an older guy to a multi year contract, but what about right now, is this really a move TFC should be making, can he improve the team?
The obvious answer is, duh, he was just playing in the semi finals of the Confederations bloody Cup, while TFC are TFC, of course he can help, but there's definitely valid question marks. Look at his goal stats over the last few years in Europe and you can't help but see a steady decline. Look at his time with Manchester United, where his goalscoring woes made him a bit of a laughing stock, and you can see that when not in the right circumstances he can struggle.
Could TFC be the right circumstances for him? Getting past the obvious cynical 'is that the right circumstance for anyone?' jibe, the best you could offer is a hesistant maybe, depending on how they might plan to use him. If he's playing up front then you've got to think he'd suffer from the same service issues that have made it hard for Robert Earnshaw to really get going. Call it the Julian de Guzman 'he needs better players around him to look good' excuse.
A more intriguing option might be if he were to play a bit further back, as an attacking midfielder or a secondary striker, linking up with the likes of Matias Laba, Jonathan Osorio or Luis Silva, setting up Earnshaw or Danny Koevermans to take care of the finishing side of it. If this happens, it'll be very interesting to see how he's used.
The other bit of intrigue this brings up is just who is behind this deal. I've written before how it seems like TFC are trying to balance between two seperate strategies this season. Kevin Payne does seem to be taking a long term view, bringing in Matias Laba, talking about another young DP (incidentally there were few more tweets today about Max Urruti so that still seems to be an ongoing project), going with Jeremy Hall and now Michael Thomas ahead of Terry Dunfield, Joe Bendik ahead of Stefan Frei, slowly shedding the contracts he inherited to create more flexibility for future signings. If he's focusing on what he thinks are the right players, Ryan Nelsen seems to be going with a 'right now' approach. He's used his contacts from overseas to bring in players on loan, or older players who can play a useful stop gap role to help him win some games while the gradual improvements are happening, ie Robert Earnshaw, Steven Caldwell, the attempted signings of Kevin Davies and Tal Ben Haim. Longer term projects that aren't contributing right now, such as Ashtone Morgan and Kyle Bekker are not getting developmental minutes for the sake of the future. It's a delicate balancing act that is starting to look like they might be getting right.
If this was a 34 year old coming over from the Premier League then you could say it's Nelsen behind it, if he was a younger South American, then that'd be an obvious Payne signing. As it is, this one has Tim Leiweke's name all over it. Whenever asked about TFC, he's seemed very focused on bringing in big names, famous players that everyone's heard of. Forlan fits that bill, so I guess this would be introducing a 3rd strategy to the balancing act.
Might Forlan be a a helpful 'right now' player anyway? There's a good chance of that, but are TFC really in the position where his help would really lift them up to competing for a playoff spot? Probably not yet, it's a big difference that needs to be made, probably beyond any one player. Can he be a 'right' player? Someone who can be a part of the long term project? At 34 already, there's a giant question mark of how much longer he can be an effective player. Hopefully he can fit into at least one of those two categories, but really it's more about the big name at this stage, a bit of hype and pizzazz. Looking at that positively, this is something that could help raise TFC's profile in Uruguay and South America and lead to other players looking at TFC as a legitimate destination, if it does then that could lead to a very positive long term impact.
It's all hypotheticals at this stage, but that international transfer window is just a few days away. It's going to get interesting around here.