Sebastian Giovinco’s agent Andrea D’Amico made his much-awaited appearance in front of a Canadian audience on Anthony Totera’s show tonight, and shed more light on the China saga.
You can watch the full segment below. D’Amico once again reiterates that Giovinco is happy in Toronto but says they will listen to the offers on the table and discuss them with TFC.
The most revealing answer, however, that D’Amico gave - and the one he was most enthusiastic about giving - came when Totera asked if it was time for MLS to do a bit of CSL spending of its own to both attract more big-name players and keep the ones the league already has. Here is D’Amico’s response:
“Seba is very happy and his family is very happy too. I have a fantastic feeling with all of the TFC family, from Larry Tanenbaum to everyone. For me, [Giovinco joining TFC] was not only a business deal but it was an emotional experience.
“At the same time, I have my idea of MLS. Now, MLS is just like the Olympic Games with no professional athletes. They need to go forwards in the direction of increasing the market, increasing the number of big players, because three DPs and [something about the salary cap I can’t quite make out] is too [few] for a squad of 11.
“So, what does it mean? If you sign an important coach, they can reduce the gap from salary-cap players to the DP players with tactics, with special training and so on. Otherwise, you need great actors. Great actors, in football, means great champions.
“I think no one in the world has the facilities, the lifestyle, the organization, the marketing that MLS has. It’s a fantastic place to live. So, if North America doesn’t want to commit more... we need that. In my opinion, we have to accelerate this project. I saw more than 150,000 people at the stadiums in the three games against Montreal and Seattle.
[gushes about attendances some more]
“It means that now, football is ‘actual’ in North America and in my opinion they need to increase the number of big players in the squads and the system, big-name coaches. I think the salary cap was OK for [the situation] many years ago, but now! The league is OK, so you can spend money for big players and at the same time you can receive money for TV rights because everyone is watching football in every moment with every kind of device.”
In other words: SHOW ME THE MONEY!
That might be too cynical. I do think Giovinco and D’Amico have always had a genuine ambition to play a part in the growth of MLS, and want to see it become a force on a global level. D’Amico may feel that while Giovinco individually has been a huge success in the league, his arrival has not quite been the catalyst for a flood of box-office names coming over that he hoped.
The problem there, of course, is that the MLS clubs who can afford to spend big are starting to realise they can get much better value out of a prime-aged Nicolas Lodeiro, for example, than a mid-30s Steven Gerrard or Kaka. Lodeiro may not sell as many shirts or get as many TVs turned on before he’s even stepped foot on American or Canadian soil, but he will get you in the playoffs and success trumps all in the longer term.
I digress, but the point is that while D’Amico and MLS both want the same thing - a powerful, successful North American league - they might differ in how they see that being achieved. The CSL’s arrival on the scene has presented the agent with a useful bargaining chip, and we’ll see how both TFC and MLS react.