Amidst the drama of Decision Day and Toronto FC’s unsuccessful bid to claim a bye into the Eastern Conference semi-finals, Canadian soccer writer Duane Rollins dropped a little bit of a bombshell on Twitter.
Rollins claims that not only are Serie A giants AC Milan preparing to make a January bid to sign Michael Bradley on a permanent basis, TFC are actively searching for an attacking midfielder to play behind Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore as his replacement.
Now that that's over: I have on good authority that @acmilan is preparing a January bid for Michael Bradley. TFC may consider.— Duane Rollins (@24thminute) October 23, 2016
@RobUsry other side I've been told is that TFC actively looking to bring "a 10 like" DP in to replace so permanent.— Duane Rollins (@24thminute) October 23, 2016
That is a pretty dramatic potential change to the roster. More and more teams seem to be turning to the idea of using all three designated-player slots on attacking players; a good defence is far more coachable than creativity and talent, after all, and it is also no longer impossible to land a pretty high-profile defender on a non-DP salary.
Bradley, I personally feel, sometimes gets a bit of a raw deal from fans and combines defensive intelligence with vision in possession just about as well as any defensive midfielder in the league.
That said, when one considers the impact Drew Moor and Clint Irwin have had at the back on far cheaper deals and also looks at the way Benoit Cheyrou has played when available this season, it is not difficult to understand the attraction of moving the money higher up the pitch.
The stumbling block in all of this, of course, is Bradley’s salary. He is unlikely to command the $6 million he earns with the Reds in Europe and so his reasons for taking up any such offer would have to be competitive, because it would almost certainly mean a pay cut.
We’re not likely to hear much more about this until December, but it’s not the first time Bradley has been tipped to leave Toronto in 2017. An offseason that appeared to be more about tweaks and small improvements could be more interesting than first thought.