Toronto FC is not done. The Reds are still on the market for another attacker and now they’re targeting Italian forward Andrea Belotti. Reports of early negotiations from Toronto with the player came out on the same day news broke about them agreeing to terms with Italian striker Lorenzo Insigne.
The 28-year-old will become a free agent after the 2020/2021 season is over so he could join for free the Canadian team. Although there’s still not a formal offer on the table, both parties are negotiating to pair Belotti with Italian National Team Lorenzo Insigne.
It’s worth mentioning that both players were part of the squad that played EURO 2020, where the Italian National Team became champion by defeating England on penalties after a 1-1 tie in regular time.
Toronto FC is willing to offer Belotti more than Torino’s renewal, who’s also under negotiations with his current captain, as they are not planning on letting him walk away.
Nothing is set in stone yet, as conversations just started to happen, but it seems as if Toronto FC wants to break the MLS market for next season by making a statement: MLS is no longer a league were players come to retire, au contraire, is becoming an attractive league for players in their prime.
Belotti hasn’t been able to play since November after suffering an injury that’s keeping him off the pitch until February. But he’ll have plenty of time to gain regularity before he arrives, if he does, to Toronto.
This season, Andrea Belotti has played 10 games, scoring two times and assisting another occasion, but throughout his career at Torino, team he joined in 2015, he’s played 238 games in which he scored 107 goals and assisted 28 times.
Who will have to leave in order to open a spot for the Italians?
The arrivals of the Italian strikers will also mean that current Toronto forwards, Jozy Altidore and Yeferson Soteldo could be on the move. Soteldo could be the one designated player to leave TFC after the signing of Insigne.
Soteldo has been a good player for Toronto during his lone year with the team, but he might not be what the Reds are looking for in the long run. Reports say that Palmeiras is interested in signing the striker on a loan with option to buy. Other teams like Brazilian Sao Paulo or Colombian Deportivo Cali are interested in him too.
Jozy Altidore has been linked to New England Revolution in the past few days, but the Turkish Hatayspor seems to be the team with which the negotiations are more advanced and he could be on the move as soon as this transfer window.
Giovinco’s run with Toronto FC
It’s not the first time Toronto targets Italian players, as in 2015 they signed free agent Sebastian Giovinco as designated player, who then stayed for four seasons wearing the Toronto colors.
Giovinco arrived to the Canadian team from Juventus in a surprising move, as he was 27 years old at the time and playing for a top team in one of the best leagues in the world.
During his 4-year stint with TCF, Giovinco had a prolific career, as he was named MVP of the 2015 MLS Season. La Hormiga Atómica scored 83 goals and assisted on 51 occasions in a span of 143 games, which means he participated in a goal almost once per game.
Earlier this year, after the 2021 MLS regular season was done, reports about Giovinco wanting to return to Toronto arose, but it seems that the negotiations between the two parties didn’t become fructuous.