Like him or hate him, one thing is certain about Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley: he likes to play soccer. The 28-year-old plays every opportunity he gets: be it a league game, cup game or for his country.
It is no surprise, then, that the long MLS offseason has Bradley restless. Today, in an interview with Gazetta World, Bradley said that he is considering a return to Serie A on loan.
Before joining Toronto FC, Bradley spent three seasons in Italy between A.S Roma and Chievo Verona. He was initially a starter for both clubs, but fell out of favour with Roma in 2014 before joining Toronto FC.
In the interview Bradley said that he was happy with playing in Toronto, but misses Italy and would love to return if given right opportunity.
He also told Gazetta World that he chose Toronto FC because of the treatment he was given as a top player who is integral to the club's identity.
Evidently, while rare, it is not unheard of that designated players go out on loan during the January transfer window. Landon Donovan went to Everton, David Beckham famously went to AC Milan and Theirry Henry spent some time with Arsenal. More recently, Frank Lampard had an extended loan with Manchester City.
However, American players almost never return to Europe after coming back to Major League Soccer. While Bradley is young enough that he could still do it, and return to MLS in form.
The main problem with a deal like this would be the wear and tear on Bradley. As aforementioned, the Toronto captain is not one to turn down a fixture but that might be to his detriment. Between World Cup qualifiers, Major League Soccer and the Copa America Centenario Bradley will be playing a lot of soccer in 2016. Serie A would just add more.
Bradley was also asked about teammate Sebastian Giovinco, who recently won Major League Soccer newcomer of the year. He confirmed that Giovinco was happy in Toronto, and less likely to return to Italy than Bradley.
Giovinco has also recently been linked to Tottenham Hotspur and FC Barcelona, but Giovinco's agent Andrea D'Amico says that the atomic ant will not be leaving Toronto FC. He has already ruled out an Italian return, saying that Giovinco is not considering it at all.
A move like this would go one of the two ways for Toronto FC. On one hand an improvement in the quality of his opposition may lead Bradley to come in the 2016 MLS season in top form. On the other, the risk of injury and playing too many fixtures would be detrimental to Toronto FC, especially when they need him most next October and November.