It would appear as though Toronto FC is set to pull off one of the biggest coups and player signings in the history of Major League Soccer.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that TFC is set to announce a deal with American midfielder Michael Bradley, currently under contract to Italian club AS Roma.
ESPN soccer commentator Taylor Twellman first reported the news on Tuesday afternoon. Alexi Lalas, former general manager of the LA Galaxy, later confirmed the story through his sources.
Sportsnet contacted a high-ranking official at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment but they declined to comment on the Bradley reports.
The possible signing of Bradley, 26, would pose one small problem for Toronto FC, as MLS clubs are only allowed three designated players on their roster. TFC already has two—Brazilian forward Gilberto and Argentine midfielder Matias Laba. The Reds are expected on Monday to announce the signing of a third DP, English forward Jermain Defoe.
Bradley would make four, which means TFC would likely have to get rid of one. Considering TFC only signed Gilberto last month, chances are Laba would be the odd man out.
There is the possibility that Bradley won’t be signed to a DP contract. But considering his age and that he’s as the height of his career, it seems unlikely.
A key member of the U.S. national team, Bradley has had to battle for playing time in his second season with Roma—he has one goal in 11 appearances, five as a starter. Roma on Tuesday completed the signing of midfielder Radja Nainggolan from fellow Serie A club Cagliari, giving Bradley even more competition for playing time.
A native of New Jersey, Bradley began his career in MLS as a member of the New York Metrostars from 2004 to 2005 before making the move to Europe. A stint with Dutch club Heerenveen from 2006-08 began his European sojourn, followed by moves to German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach, Chievo Verona and AS Roma, as well as a loan spell with Aston Villa.
How big is Bradley’s potential move to TFC?
It’s not a stretch to suggest it would be one of the biggest in MLS history, just below the signing of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and perhaps Clint Dempsey.