Welcome to Soccer Central: Ask the Insiders where fans get to pick the topics. This week, Gerry Dobson, Craig Forrest and producer Daniel Fernandes answered several questions including what Torsten Fring’s retirement means for TFC’s playoff hopes; who the big names are in this summer’s transfer window and whether Cristiano Ronaldo would be welcomed back with open arms to Manchester United.
Mark asks: What impact do you think the retirement of captain Torsten Frings will have on TFC’s season?
Gerry Dobson: Although he was a legend and a gifted player, he was clearly at the end of the line. This was going to be his last season anyway and management wondered aloud how many minutes he would play even if relatively healthy. They’ve tried to shore up things defensively as well. But his leadership and ability to teach young players will be missed.
Craig Forrest: Toronto FC loses a leader for sure. Collectively they will have to lead together now. There is a silver lining in Frings retiring because it frees up cap space and a DP spot. Hopefully, for their fans, they make it count.
Daniel Fernandes: Even at the advanced age of 36, a healthy Torsten Frings would have had a lot to offer Toronto FC this season. His experience and ability to read the game will be a huge loss. His retirement will free up some room under the salary cap (approx. $330,000) and a designated player spot. If TFC spend these funds wisely, they could get three players for the price of one.
Willem asks: Who are the big names that might be moved in this summer’s transfer window?
Gerry Dobson: Here’s a couple. Gareth Bale and Falcao. Bale’s already strong stock has shot like a meteor in recent weeks. Spurs may have trouble holding on to him. And it’s amazing to me that Atletico Madrid did not sell Falcao in the January window. I think it’s only a matter of time before one of the world’s best goal scorers starts doing it for one of the world’s biggest teams.
Craig Forrest: The rumour mill will be spinning out of control this summer with so many big stars likely to be lured away by bigger clubs. I think Falcao, Cavani, Bale, Suarez and Fellaini will all be at new clubs to start next season. I don’t see Rooney joining PSG though.
Daniel Fernandes: Falcao, Fernando Torres and Robert Lewandowski are three high profile strikers that will likely have new clubs. I don’t see Michu staying with Swansea past this season, same for Joao Moutinho at FC Porto.
Ken asks: What do you think of FIFA committing to using goal line technology at the next World Cup?
Gerry Dobson: Great idea and long overdue. I strongly disagree with those who say it takes the human element out of that part of the game. The bottom line to me in a sport where goals come at a premium, is to get the call right. Hopefully we’ve reached the finish line on this one.
Craig Forrest: This was a no brainer. Too bad it took this long.
Peter asks: If Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, would he be well received by the fans?
Gerry Dobson: For sure he would. That is unless he knocks them out of the Champions League this year! Seriously though, he did nothing to alienate fans there and barring the odd hiccup he’s a model citizen. I think they would welcome him back with open arms.
Daniel Fernandes: If he were to return to Old Trafford, I think he would be well received. He became a legend at the club and provided Red Devils’ fans with many great memories. Even if there are a few boo-birds, his performances would silence them quickly. After all, it’s not like he left for their City rivals.
Kyle asks: What went wrong for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal? Where do they go from here?
Gerry Dobson: There’s nothing wrong with Arsenal other than they’re not good enough. As a franchise they are rich and in great financial shape. In this day and age that’s almost as important as winning trophies. Long term health is not something many clubs are not considering, at their peril.