Toronto FC has recently expressed interest in Galatasaray forward Lukas Podolski, but they will have to ward off competing interest from China.
If you needed proof that Toronto FC are becoming major players in the transfer market, look no further than this recent article in EuroSport claiming that the Reds are the MLS team most interested in claiming Lukas Podolski’s signature. Of course, two teams from China in Shanghai Shenhua and Beijing Guoan are also courting his services, but EuroSport lists his probability of landing in the MLS at 50%.
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Podolski has played the majority of his career for his hometown team FC Koln, but proved his worth in the Premier League when he spent three seasons with Arsenal. He scored 17 goals in 43 games in his lone season with Galatasaray, but they have been assessed a two-year ban in the Champions League due to Financial Fair Play.
It’s not like a successful league season would have resulted in anything worthwhile for Podolski, so having him take on a new challenge and play Stateside makes sense. And out of all the teams in MLS, Toronto FC must be the one garnering attention due to the success we’ve had with signing players from Europe.
Jermain Defoe’s exit may have been a bitter one, but he still had a successful season. Jozy Altidore went from a one-goal season to a 14-goal one. Michael Bradley has taken on a much more prominent role in Toronto than he has at Roma, and Sebastian Giovinco has gone through a career resurgence.
Podolski may be off at the Euros, but he provides depth for Germany more than anything. He hasn’t featured at all in their first two games, so it’s not like he’ll be suffering from fatigue once the tournament is over. Although Toronto FC haven’t exactly done a lot to reinforce the notion that the MLS is a retirement league with their recent moves, MLS teams will recognize the value he brings to the club, even at this stage in his career, especially from a leadership perspective.
Allowing teams to have a fourth designated player is a rule that’s believed to kick in at midseason, but even so, TFC have a lot of money tied down to their three DPs. However, they could use TAM to buy down up to $500,000 of someone’s contract, or if not, a sale of Jozy Altidore – who’s been struggling this season – could be the other option to free up room for Podolski.
Coming into the season, TFC’s major focus was on improving the defense and providing offensive support for Giovinco. The defense has been addressed, and Podolski would go a long way to addressing the latter. Toronto needs more proven wingers, and Podolski is capable of playing in the center or out wide. This is clearly an amicable move that would interest both parties, so make it happen Tim!