Toronto FC are doing battle with the Montreal Impact for a top European midfielder!
Well, probably not, but that’s what Italian website Tuttomercatoweb is claiming today. It doesn’t make a ton of sense in any respect whatsoever, but January is tomorrow so... let’s have a look.
The man in question is Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Motta, who is out of contract in the summer. Motta has played regularly for PSG this season, appearing in 17 out of 19 games in Ligue 1, but they’re in a bit of a transitional period with a new manager and no Zlatan Ibrahimovic so there’s a good chance he could be moving on soon.
Now, the report seems to make Montreal the frontrunner and kind of mentions Toronto as a possibility in passing. It doesn’t make much sense for the Impact, either, to be honest - they already have Marco Donadel under contract who does exactly the same thing as Motta in front of the defence for a non-DP salary. I guess they have links to Italian players and Didier Drogba’s money to use? That’s about the best I can do.
It makes even less sense for Toronto, who seem to plan to use the extra targeted allocation money they will have available to recruit a fast, skilful, creative attacking midfielder. Motta is a slow, intelligent defensive midfielder who cuts out attacks effectively and uses the ball well. Michael Bradley, essentially.
If Bradley leaves for Italy, as has been unconvincingly speculated a couple of times, I guess Motta could be a fit tactically - but it’s still very hard to see the front office using the money that becomes available on an expensive 34-year-old. Motta also has a history of injuries, and though he seems to have got over them lately he still has only played 30 league games in a season twice in his career.
In short, it’s probably agent talk. I would guess Mr Motta may fancy a couple of years on decent money in MLS to see out his career and is trying to drum up some interest.