Michael Bradley has had a strong start to the 2016 MLS season, and it looks like it's not just Toronto FC supporters who have taken notice. Toronto FC's captain is reportedly again drawing interest from Italian teams ahead of this summer's European transfer window.
Other reports have indicated that Bradley considered a loan to Italy back in January, and if he had found the right club he could have spent the winter break in the Serie A. That never materialised, and very little has been said on the topic since as Toronto FC's 2016 season opened.
Now, reports linking Bradley to Italy have resurfaced. Italian site DiMarzio is reporting that Serie A side Sampdoria are interested in acquiring the American midfielder.
Interest, and the risk of losing Bradley, are two different things evidently. It's not surprising that a Serie A club would be interested in Bradley considering his success in that league, and what he has managed to accomplish since.
The 28-year-old Bradley spent three seasons in the Serie A with Chievo Verona and Rome before making the jump to Major League Soccer. It was there that he earned the nickname "the general" for his ability to control a game from the base of the midfield.
The question in all of this, however, is not whether or not clubs are interest but the willingness of Toronto FC to hear an offer on Bradley. Especially from Sampdoria, a club who are not known for being able to spend the large amount of money it would likely take to acquire and pay a player of Bradley's calibre.
Toronto FC, on the other hand, has built their team around Bradley. They have brought in his friends Jozy Altidore and Will Johnson and let him play a significant role in the composition of the team. He is also the captain after all, and seems genuinely happy with the team and life in Toronto.
Since Jermain Defoe, the Toronto FC front office has not shown any sort of willingness to part with its designated players, turning aside offers. This includes Barcelona, who were interested in Sebastian Giovinco during the winter transfer window.
At the moment, this is all just smoke surrounding what should be a very interesting transfer window for Toronto FC as they try to shore up a squad that could, and should, be title contenders if a few holes are filled. It's very unlikely that Toronto FC's captain would abandon his ship.