So Jozy Altidore
or Michael Bradley
won't even be the highest-paid Toronto FC player. Toronto FC announced on Monday
that it had signed 27-year-old Italian midfielder Sebastian Giovinco
as a Designated Player, and he will arrive in MLS after the end of the current Italian
Serie A current season with champion Juventus.
Terms of the five-year deal were not disclosed, as per league policy, but the Toronto Sun reported
that his annual salary of $7 million, plus marketing rights, will make him the highest-paid
player in MLS history.
“Today marks a very special day for Toronto FC with the addition of Sebastian Giovinco,” said Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko
. “Seba is in the prime of his career and he has chosen to join Toronto FC and MLS at a time when many of the top clubs in the world were pursuing him. We are very
pleased to bring a fantastic player to Toronto FC for our club and for our fans, especially those in the Italian community.”
Toronto FC has for several seasons sought to sign a
big-name Italian player. With Juventus, Giovinco has won back-to-back Scudetti in 2012-13 and 2013-14. He is currently in his sixth season at Juve, where he has made a combined 130 appearances,
scoring 20 goals with 23 assists across all competitions.
“I am excited to sign with Toronto FC today and look forward to joining the club this summer,” said Giovinco.
“I have heard so many great things about Toronto over the years and I know that it will be a city that I feel right at home in. Until then, I have many things I still want to accomplish for
Juventus and our fans. I will always give my heart and soul for Juve until I change shirts this summer.”
Giovinco, dubbed "the Atomic Ant" ("formica atomica" in Italian) for his
size and explosiveness, has earned 21 caps for the Italian national team.
The signing of Giovinco gives TFC four Designated Players along with Altidore, Bradley and Brazilian Gilberto
. The odd man out is Gilberto, who is likely to be transferred to a club abroad.