Bernardeschi & Kaye in, Pozuelo out: Toronto FC's busy summer set to continue
By Chris Smith
They've already signed Italian national team veterans Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Criscito, but Toronto FC's star-studded summer rebuild looks set to roll on.
The Reds announced a pre-contract agreement with former Napoli forward Insigne in January, with the 31-year-old due to make his debut against the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field on Saturday. Criscito should also be available for that match after the 35-year-old ended his third spell with Genoa to sign in Toronto at the end of June.
Factor in the arrival of Mexico international center-back Carlos Salcedo in January and it's clearly been a busy period in the market as TFC look to strengthen and improve under Bob Bradley.
But the 2017 MLS Cup champions are not done yet.
According to reports, Toronto will part ways with DP playmaker and 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo, with Inter Miami ready to pay just $150k in Allocation Money to bring the Spaniard to Florida.
But the sale of Pozuelo - who has 29 goals and 26 assists in 99 appearances for TFC - is about far more than just Allocation Money for Toronto, who have been linked with another Italian star in Federico Bernardeschi - reports confirmed by 90min sources.
Still only 28 years old, Bernardeschi is capped 39 times at senior level for Italy, scoring six goals, while he played four times as the Azzurri won Euro 2020. The forward is now a free agent after his Juventus contract expired, ending a five-year stay in Turin that included 183 appearances, 12 goals, and 24 assists across all competitions, as well as five major trophies.
90min understands Bernardeschi is preparing to travel to Toronto in order to progress talks, with TFC now identifying him as their main target despite still having work to do in completing the deal. The sale of Pozuelo would open up the Designated Player spot required to sign Bernardeschi.
But that's not all. Toronto are reportedly also keen to bolster their midfield with Canada international Mark-Anthony Kaye, according to former TFC defender and TSN broadcaster Steven Caldwell.
The 27-year-old was a key part of LAFC's Supporters' Shield Triumph in 2019 and has been plying his trade with the Colorado Rapids since the start of last season, helping Robin Fraser's side finish top of the Western Conference in 2021.
The signing of Kaye would make sense considering he won that Supporters' Shield title under Bradley at Banc of California Stadium. The 35-time CanMNT star is an excellent two-way midfielder, able to create for his team and disrupt the opposition, while also being incredibly mobile and versatile.
Toronto currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points adrift of the MLS Cup Playoff spots. But if Insigne hits the ground running and the club get their latest proposed deals over the line, it's easy to imagine them flying up the standings and going on a Playoff run.