A couple more new faces will be arriving to Ryan Nelsen’s Toronto FC in the offseason. 24-year old Brazilian striker Gilberto of Brazilian Serie A side Portuguesa was signed to a Designated Player contract.
“Gilberto is a great DP addition to our roster,” Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko told the press on Friday. “He’s young, incredibly talented and a proven goalscorer at every level he’s played. The Brazilian Série A is one of the best leagues in the world and acquiring a top striker from that league is a testament to the faith Gilberto has in what we are doing at our club.
“We promised our fans back in September that this club would make bold moves this offseason and that they should evaluate our progress in January. We feel that this is a key step and we will continue to work towards delivering on that promise over the next month.”
“I’m coming to a very good side,” Gilberto told the Toronto Star’s Cathal Kelly. “I also appreciate the quality of life here. And I want to open a new market in Major League Soccer for Brazilians. The primary job is to win titles.”
One day later, the Toronto Sun reported that Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe was set to be signed for a transfer fee of up to S10 million, making him one of the highest paid players in MLS history. Defoe would join an elite company of current and former MLS players who have Premier League experience, including Clint Dempsey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and of course, David Beckham.
“Hopefully, everything is teed up and ready to go so that when dates come along you can start checking the boxes,” Bezbatchenko said of the club’s swift off-season transformation to Kurtis Larson of the Toronto Sun. “The boxes are being checked.”
Finally, midfielder Bobby Convey was traded to the New York Red Bulls for a first round pick and a second round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Convey appeared in 21 matched for the Reds in 2013, with one goal and four assists.
“We’d like to thank Bobby for his contributions to Toronto FC and wish him all the best in New York,” Betzbatchenko told the media on Friday.