By DAN KARELL
When new President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Tim Leiweke promised to help turn Toronto FC’s fortunes around, most didn’t think it would come as soon as July.
According to reports in Canada, Leiweke, who helped bring David Beckham and Robbie Keane to the Los Angeles Galaxy, is set to complete the signing of Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan to a designated player contract with TFC, rumored to be around $4 million per season, which would make him one of Major League Soccer’s top earners instantly.
If the deal happens, it would be a massive coup for the Canadian club that has struggled mightily under new head coach Ryan Nelsen, sitting towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the second year running. However, Forlan’s signing should breathe new life into the club as they embark on a more positive second half of the season.
Though he is 34-years old, Forlan showed last month that he can still perform at a high level, as his Uruguay side finished in fourth place at the Confederations Cup in Brazil last month.
The former Manchester United, Villarreal, and Atletico Madrid player has slowly turned his fortunes around after a tumultous 12 month at Inter Milan, signing for Brazilian side Internacional in Porto Alegre, helping lead the club to the Rio Grande du Sol state championship this spring. On Sunday, Forlan played 78 minutes in a 5-3 victory over Vasco Da Gama, scoring a first-half goal.
Forlan was the star of the 2010 World Cup, earning the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player of the tournament, having scored five goals as his nation finished fourth in South Africa.
TFC currently have Dutch forward Danny Koevermans and Argentine midfielder Matias Laba as their other two designated players.
What do you think of this news? Do you believe Forlan can lift TFC into a playoff spot? Surprised that Forlan would go to Toronto? Not buying it until Forlan is on the field in a Toronto FC uniform?
Share your thoughts below.