The last week has been intriguing for Toronto FC. Since the January transfer window opened there have been no shortage of stories linking the club with players from all over the globe as the club are desperate to make the most of this window. As always, the vast majority of these stories have proven to untrue, or at the very least exaggerated. But a couple have been proven true as Toronto appear close to making the defining move of their transfer season.
The biggest story of the window so far has been Toronto's expressed interest in American international Jozy Altidore, as was confirmed by Greg Vanney's comments in the Toronto Sun. At the time it was initially believed that Toronto were in competition with New York Red Bulls as well as Portland Timbers for the 25-year-old. Now it appears that Toronto and Portland are the last two team's standing, with Toronto FC the favourite to land the player.
A report on ESPN today claimed that this was due to the club's position in the allocation rankings, which is seventh compared to Portland's ninth. Currently, New York City FC sits at the top of the order, where Toronto was for much of last season prior to a trade with Houston Dynamo when DaMarcus Beasley became available. TFC received Warren Creavalle in that deal.
It could be possible that one of the two teams reach a similar deal, the Portland being the most likely considering, as aforementioned, they are behind Toronto in the order. Toronto has been known to make this sort of deal with New York City in the past, however, maybe Dan Lovitz will finally be headed to the Big Apple.
It is somewhat surprising that the allocation order is being considered at all, however, as an internal draft has been Major League Soccer's move with these sort of higher class American internationals in the past, see Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley. According to ESPN, however, the league is looking to get away from this somewhat shady system.
As for how Toronto will acquire Altidore, or another Premier League striker, Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press suggests their strategy will be to trade them Jermain Defoe as well as acquiring cash. The club will be looking to get a deal done before January 17 when it is suggested Defoe will return to Toronto, and have already lowered their asking price. Simply based on putting two and two together, Sunderland would seem like the ideal club with whom to make this deal.
The only other striker that Toronto FC has been linked with in the Premier League has been Emmanuel Adebayor from Defoe's former club, Tottenham. However, a source close to the London club told Waking The Red that he would be "very surprised" to see the striker come to Toronto. As far as he knows Adebayor is not looking to leave Tottenham. It would also not really fit Toronto's plan, as there is no way they could get the Tologese striker and cash for Defoe.
Davidson's article also revealed Toronto's plan going forward in terms of designated players, which became murky it became clear they were chasing Altidore and not the expected number 10. Toronto is still interested in adding an attacking piece to their midfield, however, but will wait until July 1st and the summer transfer window. They will use the funds they acquire from the Defoe deal towards that goal.
This may be the beginning of the end for Brazilian Gilberto, as Altidore plus a number 10 would mean four DPs with Toronto only have three slots. GIlberto could in theory stick around till July, however, and there is no news as to whether or not MLS will come up with some sort of exception to the rule and add a third designated player slot.
There are still no shortage of storylines, and certainly more excitement to be had going forward.