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Duane Rollins

Money, Money, Money: The sale of Giovinco and what it means

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Let's start with the obvious. Sebastian Giovinco will be missed. Mostly by Toronto fans, but also by MLS fans in general. The little Italian thrilled fans for four seasons, scoring 73 league goals, many of them of the jaw dropping variety.

He also won. Three Voyageurs Cups and a Supporters Shield were the appetizer to the ultimate prize. The 2017 MLS Cup championship.

Dream stuff for long-time TFC fans who lived through a lot of bad football to get to that day.

He was a Bloody Big Deal.

And, now he's gone. Not with a bang, but rather a pout. Walking out the door in the middle of the night with an Instagram post that thanked the fans and accused the ownership of cheaping out, no longer caring about the results on the pitch.

It's a time honoured strategy of players. A Blame the suits move. They're the bad guys that don't care about you little guys in the stands. Make sure to come out for my autograph signing in 2023. Only $50 for a photo!

Let's be clear. Giovinco has every right to chase the paycheque. I wouldn't turn down $30m and neither would you. But, that's what's happening. Had TFC offered Giovinco the same number he'd be perfectly OK with ownership's commitment to winning. It was their evaluation of his worth that informed his opinion.

This was always going to happen. This was a player that left Juventus to join TFC, effectively ending his chance at playing internationally again. If he was driven by glory he signs a cheaper deal with a Sassuolo, Chievo or Genoa, rips it up, and has 20 more caps for Italy by now. No one dreams of leaving Juve for Toronto.

You only leave Juve for two reasons: for money or opportunity to advance your career further. Unless Giovinco thought his agent had misspelled Torino when he sent the offer to him he was coming to Toronto for the money.

And, he's leaving Toronto for the same reason. It was always going to end this way.

In terms of the football, it's going to be difficult for Toronto fans to critically evaluate whether it was right for Toronto to let him walk. Should they have matched the Saudi offer and let Giovinco retire as a TFC player?

Well, he's 32. It's pretty much universally understood that attacking player's peak years are between 23 and 31. The decline after that can be sharp. So, Giovinco is, statistically speaking, past his prime years.

There are outliers though. Is Giovinco trending upwards?

His stats over last four years:

2015 -- age 28, 34 app, 22 goals, 13 assists

2016 -- age 29, 34 app, 21 goals, 16 assists

2017 -- age 30, 29 app, 17 goals, 7 assists

2018 -- age 31, 28 app, 13 goals, 7 assists

His appearances, goals and assists figure has dropped each of the last two seasons. Doesn't seem to be out of line with statistical norms. If his production drops the same percentage this year as it did between 2017 and 2018 he would end up with between 9 and 10 goals in 2019.

That's a quality MLS forward, but not a DP and certainly not a $10m a year DP.

Of course it's also 10 goals TFC is going to need to replace. That's the other side of this move and one that can't be evaluated until it happens. But, by making the move today they have the DP space and money to start that process in the summer, which is generally when MLS teams make their big moves.


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