Politics

TFC NOTEBOOK: Manning says the club has looked at a few Euros besides Insigne

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Toronto FC president Bill Manning neither poured water on the Lorenzo Insigne-to-TFC rumours on Friday night nor did he fan the flames.

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In other words, stayed tuned.

Increasingly, there have been reports out of Europe, as well as from Nashville soccer writer Will Forbes, that the Italian international has been offered a ton of money by Toronto, possibly a record-breaking amount for MLS. Insigne’s contract expires this summer and the Italian playmaker has not come to terms with Napoli on an extension. According to reports, the Serie A side has offered the 30-year-old only half of what he is demanding.

Insigne, a winger who also can play midfield, has scored 89 goals in 319 appearances for Napoli and has played on the Italian senior national team since 2012. Earlier this year he played for Italy in the UEFA Euro 2020 — the tournament won by the Azzurri. Insigne has scored 10 goals in 53 matches for the senior national team. His current market value according to Transfermarkt is $52.80 million US.

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“There’s a lot of players that we inquire about and some you get some traction on and some you don’t,” Manning told the Toronto Sun . “There’s some players in Europe we’ve looked at and we’ve inquired about. We inquire about a lot of players. January is really when things will heat up. In December the trade window opens, you may see some activity there and I think in January is really when the pieces start to be added and subtracted.”

Manning has to tread carefully when talking about possible moves for big-name players, as he still has three Designated Players under contract — Alejandro Pozuelo, Jozy Altidore and Yeferson Soteldo. There’s talk that TFC is hoping to be able to move Altidore and/or Soteldo this off-season. TFC has over $10 million tied up with those three players annually.

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As for reports that TFC’s all-time leading scorer Sebastian Giovinco wants back, Manning reiterated that the team has twice talked to the Atomic Ant this fall and that the door is always open to Giovinco, who maintains a residence in Toronto. A TFC source told the Sun last month that Giovinco has asked for too much money and that Toronto would not pay him a DP-type salary to return.

“The (MLS) salary cap is the biggest thing,” said Manning. “We can talk about players all day long but if we can’t put them on our roster because of the league (cap), well, that’s the biggest that you have to manage. Again, as January comes and the window opens up I think there’s going to be movement (with new players). We’ll see how things shake out and see if there’s an opportunity there (with Giovinco).”

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TALKS WITH AKINOLA GOING AYO-K

Brampton forward Ayo Akinola is no longer under contract with TFC, but Manning said the two sides are looking to hash out a new deal.

“I just spoke with Ayo today,” Manning told the Sun. “We’re having discussions. I’m actually going to meet with him and his representatives next week again, and we’ll see what we can do there.”

Akinola, 21, scored a team-leading nine goals in 15 appearances last year and managed three in 11 games this season before going down with an ACL injury in July while on international duty with Canada, resulting in him missing the remainder of the 2021 season.

“Our homegrowns are important to us,” Manning added. “As they’ve grown and become pros, they’ve got to prove themselves too. It’s been a good discussion and we’ll continue next week.”

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DUNN HEADING OVERSEAS

Former TFC defender Julian Dunn has hammered out a deal with Hamarkameratene, a Norwegian soccer club based in the town of Hamar. The Eliteserien club announced they had signed Dunn on a two-year deal which Dunn confirmed the move on his Instagram account.

Dunn, 21, has played largely with TFC II since 2017 and he returned to the first team for the 2021 but only made two appearances, mainly because he was hit with the injury bug. His contract expired at the end of the season.

Based in Hamar, HamKam won promotion to Norway’s top tier last month.

SBuffery@postmedia.com
Twitter @Beezersun

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