Report: Toronto FC “on the verge of signing” Juventus playmaker Sebastian Giovinco

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On this hour’s installment of As the Maple Leaf Turns, comes a report that MLS side Toronto FC are close to signing Italian midfielder Sebastian Giovinco, whose contract with Serie A giant Juventus runs out this summer.

Toronto’s interest in Giovinco has been floated around a few days now, but TSN’s Gareth Wheeler, who earlier had the goods on TFC and Sunderland’s players-and-cash swap of Jermain Defoe and Jozy Altidore, reported on Tuesday night that the Reds are “on the verge” of adding the 27-year-old playmaker as well.

Giovinco, who since 2011 has made 20 appearances for the Italian national team, has made just two league starts for Juventus this season as his contract runs down and the Juve youth academy product looks destined for departure.

To make way for Giovinco’s signing, TFC would likely have to ship out current Designated Player, Brazilian forward Gilberto, to make room for what is likely to be a hefty DP contract for the Italian. That is, of course, contingent upon this winter’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement which is still to be negotiated between MLS’s owners and Players Union.

[ MORE: TFC, Sunderland set to swap Defoe, USMNT star Altidore, plus cash ]

The addition for a fourth DP slot exists, but a sizable increase in the league’s restrictive salary cap and some form of free agency movement for longer tenured players remains at the forefront of the players’ wish list.

In any event, the potential pairing of Altidore and Gilberto isn’t exactly ideal as both players excel as hold-up artists, linking play for a more advanced forward ahead of them. Altidore has ample experience leading the line on his own, and the prospect of operating with a creator in the hole may just work far better than retaining two similar forwards.