According to a report in El Litoral, a newspaper in Santa Fe, Argentina, Toronto FC are pursuing Colón defender Germán Conti. Talks appear to be in the very early stages, though, and the Reds are reportedly vying with two other suitors: FC Dallas, and Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro.
Conti, a 23-year-old Argentine, is an up-and-coming centre-back with a top-ten team in the Primera Division. He’s a tall, athletic player who could make a splash in MLS almost immediately upon arrival.
In fact, the 6’4” ball-mover might be among the league’s best defenders if he does come to North America. He’d certainly bolster a Toronto defence that was already best in the Eastern Conference last year.
For those interested in seeing what Conti can do, Big D Soccer tracked down this highlight video:
The problem for TFC, though, is that Conti’s price would be substantial. With four very capable centre-backs already signed (Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Nick Hagglund, Eriq Zavaleta), it’s hard to justify spending $3.6 million to trigger his exit clause. In fact, the El Litoral article mentions that both MLS clubs are unlikely to bite on that transfer fee.
On top of that, Conti’s personal asking price would probably be in the range of Targeted Allocation Money or Designated Player status. Currently, TFC’s highest-paid defender is Mavinga with $300,691 in compensation (granted, we don’t know what Moor’s new contract is worth, but it’s probably less).
MLS granted clubs an extra $2.8 million in optional TAM this off-season, and Toronto could definitely muscle its way into securing Conti. Still, the roster is very deep at the back already, and adding another player would eat into the playing time and improvement of the squad’s other young defenders.
TFC will certainly be looking to put that extra TAM to good use, with all three DP spots filled long-term. Centre-back doesn’t seem like the position to spend it on, though; the Reds could benefit much more from another attacking midfielder, wingback, or forward.
It sounds like Atlético Mineiro’s bid for Conti has fallen through, so at this point Dallas would be the supposed frontrunners. A player like that would probably be much more useful to them than he would to Toronto, so I’d expect them to go after him harder.