Perhaps not entirely unexpectedly, we’re about to find out just how attached Sebastian Giovinco is to his new life in Toronto.
According to Giovinco’s agent Andrea D’Amico, the Toronto FC star has received an “important” (read: lucrative) offer from the rising power that is the Chinese Super League.
China’s top clubs started investing heavily in foreign players this time last year, with Graziano Pelle and Ramires among those to take the riches on offer. This month, more stars - including Oscar and Carlos Tevez - have followed suit.
“The Chinese club seems to be very interested, but I don’t think it’ll be easy to take him away from Toronto,” D’Amico told Sky Sport Italia.
“We received an important offer from China and we’ll talk to Toronto to decide, along with Sebastian, what to do.”
Re: Reports of Giovinco offers from China ... I'm told Toronto FC's top brass haven't been contacted by any such parties. #TFCLive— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) January 24, 2017
Giovinco is very well compensated in Toronto, but the money the CSL is throwing around is on a different level. He earns, for example, less than half of Graziano Pelle’s €16 million annual salary - and Pelle, unlike Giovinco, managed to keep his place in the Italian national team until a recent falling out with coach Giampiero Ventura.
The latest deals to be signed in China have been even bigger - Tevez is now the highest-paid player in the world on an astonishing €38 million a year.
China’s football association has been alarmed by the cash being thrown around and plans to impose new rules on the CSL, with a reduction in the number of foreign players each team is allowed already introduced.
Potential measures to curb spending, however, remain vague and the introduction of a ‘financial fair play’ system similar to the one used in Europe would take years.
Which means, in all likelihood, that the market remains open for now.
TFC, of course, do not need the money and would be extremely reluctant to entertain offers of any value for Giovinco. The player himself, meanwhile, has shown little desire to leave Canada.
The 29-year-old did, however, cut a frustrated figure in the latter stages of the MLS playoffs, complaining about the condition of the BMO Field pitch after the Reds’ MLS Cup final defeat, and also appeared to be annoyed at his omission from the league’s end-of-season awards lists. Whether any of that is enough to doubt his long-term future in North America is a matter of opinion.
Giovinco is back in Toronto for preseason and spoke to the media in English on Tuesday, but it appears his agent’s comments may have surfaced later. Kurtis Larson of the Sun, meanwhile, reports that TFC themselves have had no contact with clubs in China thus far.