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Toronto eyes Canada star de Guzman
by Ridge Mahoney, July 7th, 2009 7:01AM

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[MLS] Canadian international midfielder Julian de Guzman confirmed on a radio show Monday that Toronto FC has bid aggressively for his services.

De Guzman, 28, is out of contract following four seasons with Spanish club Deportivo Coruna and TFC has offered him a Designated Player contract, the value of which has been hotly debated on various web sites. However, a source confirmed last month that the club had discussed offering him as much as $3 million per season, which stacks up well with what he earned in Spain, though his salary earnings in that country are net, not gross, with the team paying associated costs and taxes.

What is not in dispute is that TFC has shed significant salaries this season by releasing or trading Greg Sutton ($165,062), Todd Dunivant ($109,974), Rohan Ricketts ($165,000) and Kevin Harmse ($79,200). It also acquired some allocation money in the Harmse deal with Chivas USA and has allocation money left over from previous deals and missing the playoffs again last year.

Just by dumping those salaries and using a sliver of allocation money, it can accommodate the salary-cap hit of $425,000 for a DP, even though its buyout of Ricketts' deal still counts against the cap. De Guzman would only count against the cap for $210,000 for the remainder of the 2009 season if he signed this summer. Dwayne De Rosario is TFC's highest paid player, earning a base salary of $357,000 and the MLS maximum $425,750 in total compensation.

De Guzman has offers from other clubs in Spain, and a French club is believed to be interested as well. The native of Toronto earned Concacaf Gold Cup MVP honors in 2007 for scoring two goals and helping his country reach the semifinals. He is with his national team in Columbus preparing for its second match against El Salvador after beating Jamaica, 1-0, as he ponders his next, and perhaps most important, career move.



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