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MLS roster rules gave TFC no choice but to waive Gilberto

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With Gilberto's loan deal being terminated Toronto FC were left in a position where they could not do much other than waive the player.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Gilberto is now a Chicago Fire player and there was essentially nothing that Toronto FC could have done about it.  The Fire claimed the Brazilian forward off of waivers as TFC were forced to waive the player to remain roster compliant after he loan deal to Vasco fell through.

When Toronto FC once again brought in a fresh contingent of Designated Players this past winter it meant that Gilberto was the odd man out.  The team were all set with with Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco, and Jozy Altidore taking up their three designated player slots and for the second time in recent history were faced with having to move their 4th DP just to be roster compliant in time for the start of the season.

The solution this time around came in the form of a loan deal for Gilberto that sent him back to his native Brazil to play for Vasco.  It was supposed to be a season long deal which removed him from the books at TFC and solved their four DP problem until at least next winter.

The issue with that plan turned out to be on the Vasco end as the team decided to terminate the loan early.  The club appears to be facing some financial difficulties and were struggling to pay their player's salaries and that included what they were expected to pay Gilberto.  Terminating his loan deal was an easy way to get a big chunk of money off their books and the decision would have been made that much easier when you consider the fact that Gilberto was not filling the back of the net on a consistent basis despite his large salary.

With his loan terminated at Vasco, Gilberto was once again on the books at Toronto FC and that meant the club was no longer roster compliant.  There was no way for TFC to do anything that would allow them to keep the player as even the new Targeted Allocation Money was not an option to pay down Gilberto's contract.

To get back to being roster compliant all TFC could do was place Gilberto on waivers and wait to see which other MLS was willing to pick him and his DP contract up.  Having been linked to both of the clubs that were chasing Didier Drogba, the Fire and the Montreal Impact, it seemed a safe bet that Gilberto would be the consolation prize for whoever missed out on the former Chelsea striker.  In then end that is just how it turned out as the Fire got a huge return for giving up their Discovery Claim on Drogba and then got the forward they needed without having to give anything up to land him.

The Fire do not have to compensate TFC in any way due to the player being on waivers but they will be taking the remainder of his contract on which is a significant investment for a club that has a history of shopping for their DPs in the bargain section.

Toronto FC do hold on to one element of Gilberto which is that they would receive a portion of any fee that the Fire collect should they sell the player in the future.  So if the forward ever gets sold outside of MLS the team would at least be able to recoup some of what they invested to sign him in the first place.  TFC also received a loan fee from Vasco when the forward was sent down to Brazil which will also help them to recoup some of that investment in Brazil.

It probably will not be much of a financial windfall if it ever does happen but at least it is some return on what would have been a significant investment for most MLS teams even if it pales in comparison to most of TFC's recent big money moves.

So the Gilberto era in Toronto is now officially closed a few months sooner than we all expected it would be.  TFC do not get much for the forward but they are once again roster compliant and can get back to focusing on their other roster moves during this summer window.