It was always going to take something big to bring me out of my self-imposed Toronto FC hibernation. I was content to crawl under the blankets and stay snug until February 19 (the lads’ opening CCL match).
First, there was the Ciman signing. That was impressive, but not entirely unexpected given the team’s need for a high-quality central defender, decreased playing time for the player in France, as well as Ciman’s well-known desire to provide his family with the medical care they received while in Montreal. I turned over, smiled, and dreamed even sweeter dreams.
Then Bez left to return home and run a Columbus team that needed a jersey overhaul and still needs a stadium overhaul. It was his decision. Again, I smiled. But, this caused me to stir a bit. I even turned on the telly and watched Ali Curtis tell the faithful how excited he was to hold a TFC scarf and dust off his “Binder of Destiny” (full credit to Mr. Nesker and 6onaW for that creative label). Then I rolled over and went back to sleep again.
Next came a thundering crash that caused me to sit bolt-upright: Victor Vazquez was gone! Say it ain’t so VV! Then, like Bez’s departure, I soon found out that this was Victor’s decision. Still unsure of the reasons (wish we knew the full story), I decided that there was nothing malevolent at play and that this was all for the best. That being said, I wasn’t able to fall back to sleep. This one really stung.
After yesterday’s Gregory van der Wiel soap opera, and Nick Hagglund’s departure to his hometown (Cincinnati), I have finally decided to throw off the covers and get out of bed... enough is enough!
While I would like to know the full story behind VV and vdW’s departures, I know that tight-lipped TFC probably won’t let that happen. So, I will turn my attention to what we all know to be true — Toronto FC are probably going to make another big signing from the MLS Allocation List. Trading Hagglund for the top spot in the Allocation Order, coupled with all the holes in the roster, leads us to this inescapable conclusion (give me some credit for piecing this simple puzzle together... remember, I just got out of bed).
Combing through the names on the list, one name keeps flashing TFC red: Julian Green.
Julian Green is a young, American-born player loaded with potential. He burst onto the international scene in glorious fashion, coming off the bench as a 19-year-old to score against Belgium, giving the U.S. a slim chance to advance in the 2014 World Cup. He was part of Bayern Munich’s stable, but could not crack the first-team lineup. His rights are now held by second-league Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart, and he is currently plying his trade on loan with Greuther Furth (also in the German second division). He is flat-out fast, and a wee bit crafty. But, more importantly, he is fairly versatile. He can play as a CAM, or as a left winger, or even take a turn as an alternate striker.
Clearly, he fits some of TFC’s needs. With the departure of VV, our Reds are in need of an attacking midfielder who can make a few starts, but also come off the bench to add depth at multiple positions, especially on the left side. The successful candidate need not be an everyday starting CAM, as that role, in my opinion, will be given to none other than Mr. Giovinco (see this article from November).
He fits Ali Curtis’ mold — a young, talented player who can help the team now, as well as in the future. He fits Greg Vanney’s mold — a versatile player, with experience at a high level, a nose for goal, and a desire to prove himself. He should also fit into Bill Manning’s budget plans — the team can’t afford to blow the bank on this position, given that they absolutely need a high-quality, proven forward who can start every day, plus a number of other depth players (not the least of which are a suitable back-up for Michael Bradley and more defensive depth with the departures of Hagglund and van der Wiel).
This move makes sense for the player, too. Julian Green is not going to get the exposure playing in 2. Bundesliga that he would playing for Toronto FC. Arguably, he will also not get the same level of competition (and development) in the German second division as he would playing in the CONCACAF Champions League and MLS. This move would also allow USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter to keep a closer eye on Green, while providing Julian with the opportunity to be closer to his beloved Tampa Bay Lightning.
Finally (and maybe most importantly given recent events), from his international stints, Green is known to TFC stalwarts Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Marky Delgado, Justin Morrow and Alex Bono. This is a salient fact, as it should minimize the chance of caustic locker-room hijinks adversely affecting the team’s chemistry.
I’m dropping the mic now. Time for me to take a quick nap. Wake me up just before the press conference.