The Toronto Sun continues to insist that England international Jermain Defoe is still in the mix to be Toronto FC’s big, Designated Player signing. (In terms of landing the seriously big fish, Defoe is a whopper compared to Gilberto Oliveira Souza Junior, the 24-year-old Brazilian forward announced late last week.)
The newspaper even goes so far as to say that signing the Spurs striker is “sure to be the biggest off-season move MLS-wide –both financially and tactically.”
Could well be, too.
But the impediment may be Defoe’s understandable desire to be in England’s squad for Brazil. That’s on every soccer player’s ultimate wish list, obviously.
And doesn’t that seem to put Toronto in a pickle?
Defoe does jeopardize his standing with England manager Roy Hodgson by moving out of London (and out of one of the world’s top leagues) for MLS. That is sure to give the man pause.
It’s easy to just say “Defoe would join Toronto after the World Cup” and move on. But give that a bit of thought – and then ask yourself if spending lavishly on a guy who can’t or won’t join MLS until August is really the best thing?
By early August, MLS will be about 22 rounds through a 34-round season. You know where Toronto was after 22 rounds last year?
A humbling 3-10-8 record, ninth out of 10 teams in the East, 13 points out of playoff positioning. Even if we think that a guy with good-not-great name recognition, and a man who hasn’t gotten regular starts at Tottenham for some time, is worth the talked-about $10 million transfer fee, he’s surely not worth all that for a third of the season.
And especially not if Toronto is too far out of the playoff race for his goals to even matter.
Defoe is a talent, and he could bring something to MLS.
But I’m still not convinced this is going to happen. Or if it should happen, even, given the tricky timing elements involved.