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TFC Owner Courts Mellberg, Other Swedes

Sweden international Olof Mellberg, in Canada this week with Aston Villa to play against Toronto FC Wednesday night, expressed interest in Major League Soccer during a press conference with reporters on Tuesday. "Yes, I have talked about the possibility of playing in North America. When Juan Pablo [Angel] left [Aston Villa] for the MLS, everybody has [been talking] about this league," he said.

The former Villa captain is a good friend of Mats Sundin of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, and TFC is believed to "have the inside track in signing the international star" because of those ties, according to the Toronto Sun. In fact, Sundin's lawyer, J.P. Barry, has discussed bringing several Swedish players to TFC with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the NHL's Maple Leafs as well as the MLS club.

Mellberg, who's played at Aston Villa for eight seasons, admitted that the American soccer league would be a legitimate option for him at the next stage of his career. Still only 29, the Swede has been a mainstay for both club and country. He was Sweden captain through last summer's World Cup. A source told the Sun that Mellberg, Sweden's player of the year in 2003, would come "at a very high cost."

Read the whole story at Toronto Sun »

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