Could Atiba Hutchinson be coming home to Toronto this summer? According to an article on Turkish Football the 32-year-old could join Toronto FC on a free transfer this summer when his contract with Besiktas expires at the end of June.
A homecoming for one of the most influential Canadian players on this generation would certainly be welcomed by the many Toronto FC fans who are familiar with what Hutch is capable of. He is still on the top of his game at this stage in his career and has put in some impressive performances in big games this year including earning high praise from Arsenal's Arsene Wenger for his efforts in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier.
In theory it is a great move as Hutch would come in and get to play in his home city while instantly being among the better midfielders in MLS. He would have the chance to end his career in the way that we all hoped Dwayne De Rosario and Julian De Guzman would have when they got the chance to come home to play. It all seems a bit too good to be true.
The too good to be true feeling about this report is actually so high that one can fairly safely say that this deal is not going to happen. The main issue with any move to bring Hutch to TFC is the dollars that would be involved in signing him. There would be no transfer fee involved but the wage that Hutchinson would command in MLS would almost certainly be comfortably above the Designated Player threshold.
His current deal with Besiktas is reportedly paying him well over 1 million Euros by the time you factor in all of the bonuses. He would probably not get that amount of money if he were to return home to North America to play in MLS but it would be a safe bet that he could still command a salary of over $1 million from a team in the league looking for defensive help in the midfield.
With the midfielder coming in during the summer window his first half season on the deal might be manageable for a team looking to get him in without having to deal with a DP cap hit. A deal that pays him $500k for half a season that is then paid down with allocation money to below the DP threshold could work in theory but even that amount of money would be a big stretch for Toronto. That would solve things for half a season though and would mean that the team would have another offseason headache with too many high priced players around and one would like to hope that they have learned from that after two high profile incidents in recent years.
If by some long shot Toronto were able to move pieces around and make the money available to present Hutchinson with a solid offer would that even be a move that makes sense for them? Hutch could come in and help the team but with Michael Bradley and Benoit Cheyrou already playing in similar positions to what Hutch likes to play it would be too much talent in one area of the field. The team could shift Hutch to right back where he has had a fair bit of success throughout his career but he would be a very high priced option for that position considering most teams in MLS do not spend much on wide defenders.
It would be great to see Hutchinson come back home this summer as it is something that many TFC fans have been suggesting for a few years now but it just does not add up to actually make it happen. Hutch will likely have a new club this summer and it might even be in MLS but it will not be Toronto FC.
TFC/CanMNT fans will just have to settle for seeing Hutch at BMO Field once this summer when he comes to town with Canada for the Gold Cup.