The question has always lingered with Sebastian Giovinco.
What exactly do you want? Why are you here?
I don’t mean that in a ‘why would a player like you want to come to a league like this?’ kind of way.
It’s not hard to figure out why Toronto FC was an attractive proposition to Giovinco: a world-class city, a much quieter life than he had in Turin and a chance to be a star in a league with huge potential for growth.
And then there’s the paycheck.
But what I don’t think I am alone in wondering about the Atomic Ant is whether or not that would always be enough, or whether a player once dubbed Alessandro Del Piero’s heir would want to take another stab at Europe.
Which is why I found a little tidbit of news that passed mostly unnoticed on Thursday so interesting.
According to the Canadian marketing website Strategy, Giovinco has signed on with a Toronto-based agency called Mackie Biernacki to grow his brand in North America.
Specifically, the goal is to align better with specific brand partnerships and merchandising opportunities.
This is not a move a player wondering whether a transfer might be on the cards when the winter window opens in two months’ time would be likely to make.
And if Giovinco still has ambitions outside of Toronto he hopes to fulfill, the time is now: he turns 31 in January.
What’s also notable is that Mackie Biernacki seem to have been chosen specifically for their knowledge of the Toronto market.
“We chose to work with Mackie Biernacki because they had the greatest sense of how to grow in a market that traditionally is known for hockey, hockey, and more hockey,” Luca Pasqualin, one of Giovinco’s agents, said in a press release.
Again, there would be little point in Giovinco’s management team making a concerted effort to boost his profile in Toronto if he didn’t intend on being around for long.
That his earning potential and brand power is being pursued more actively appears to be a clear signal that, after flirting with the idea of the Chinese Super League last year, Giovinco sees himself finishing his playing career with TFC.
There are all kinds of fascinating questions to delve into as to how the club will handle Giovinco as he puts more miles on the clock - too many to go into with any substance here.
For now, you can expect to see him on more stuff soon. Maybe he will be able to stop pretending to like Pizza Pizza.