Giovinco: The Worst Signing in Toronto FC History?

TFC sign Sebastian Giovinco from Juventus. It’s not a good idea.
by Sonja Missio   |   Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

About a year ago I told anyone who would listen that Jermain Defoe was a terrible signing for Toronto FC. I said he has always been injured ridden, he would not adapt to an MLS-style of play, he was a Band-Aid solution for a team that needed a lot more help than just a flashy, expensive, goal-poacher, and that if (and when) he was not called up for the World Cup, he would make any and every excuse to return to England.

I wish I had written an article on it, so I can come back with a stoic, impartial, “I told you so.”  I mean, enough people have heard me verbalize my rightness, but it’s not the same as seeing how correct I am in black and white.

Lesson learned.

So, keeping with the theme of black and white, I will publish this: Sebastian Giovinco may just be the worst signing in Toronto FC’s history.

This is nothing personally against Giovinco; the pint-sized Torinese is a decently mediocre player. Though he has been overshadowed at Juventus – who have much better, world class, strikers – he is a talented marksmen who will get a lot of goals for Toronto.

Which would be great, if all TFC was lacking were goals. However, as we learned with Defoe (and Danny Koevermans and Maicon Santos and Joao Plata and Chad Barrett and…) it takes more than just good marksmen to help Toronto FC.

A lot more.

Like many players before him, Giovinco is coming in with the expectation to turn this team around and make them into the world class squad that the team’s marketing campaign makes them out to be.

But, he won’t. He can’t.

It will take a lot more than throwing money into a pigeonholed position to save TFC this season and it is time that the club and fans stop putting pressure onto single players and then crucifying them when they do not live up to the unrealistic expectation.

Giovinco has even arrived at the club yet and he has instantly fallen victim to this trap.

TFC have already inflated his worth and, therefore, have inflated fan expectations; but the truth is that Giovinco is not the player to save the team. He’s a decent of course, but he’s not a miracle worker.

Just because TFC is willing to make him the highest paid Italian player (NB: Serie A does not have the grossly inflated salaries as other European countries) and willing to roll out a red carpet for his arrival, does not mean he will – or can – deliver what TFC is leading their fans to believe.

I mean, they’ve given him number 10 to wear, for crying out loud!

The number 10 shirt is a coveted position, one that has to be earned for, not lured with. In Italy, it is the number that has graced the backs of Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Roberto Baggio, and Antonio Di Natale.

In 2000, Napoli officially retired their number 10 jersey in honour of Diego Maradona who played with the Partenopei nearly a decade earlier (1984 – 1991).

Yes, Giovinco has worn the number 10 for the Italian National Team, however the ten mythology does not have quite the same distinction with a national side as it does with a club level. By giving Giovinco the number 10 shirt, TFC is telling him he has a legacy before he starts.

An insane amount of pressure for someone who barely plays for his current team.

Speaking of his current team, in the past three seasons, Giovinco has played under:

Massimiliano Allegri, whose (top league) coaching honours include:

- Cagliari: Panchina d'Oro Recipient (2008/09)

- Milan: Scudetto Winner (2010/11)

- Milan: AIC’s Serie A Coach of the Year (2010/11)

- Milan: Supercoppa Winner (2011)

And

Antonio Conte, whose (top league) coaching honours include:

- Juventus: Globe Soccer Award for the Best Coach of the Year Recipient (2013)

- Juventus: Twice consecutive Supercoppa Italiana winner (2012, 2013)

- Juventus: Twice consecutive Panchina d'Oro recipient (2011/12, 2012/13)

- Juventus: Twice consecutive AIC’s Serie A Manager of the Year (2011/12, 2012/13)

- Juventus: Three-time consecutive Scudetto winner (2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14)

Next season, Giovinco will play under Greg Vanney, whose (top league) coaching honours include:

- Three sentences on his coaching career on Wikipedia; theoretically two, if a semicolon was properly used.

It is unbelievably unfair and irresponsible for both Giovinco and Vanney that TFC expects Giovinco to perform under Vanney as he has with Allegri or Conte. Despite his natural talent, Giovinco steal needs the experience leadership from the person he works for.

Quite frankly, “experience” and “leadership” should never be used to describe Toronto FC.

In the same vein, Giovinco will go from playing with a Champions League-calibre* team to playing with a team that struggles in the Voyageurs Cup.

He will go from pro-Juventus refereeing** to the shambles that is MLS refereeng.

He will go from the most winningest team in Italy, to, well, Toronto FC.

And if that hasn’t convinced you that this signing is terrible, consider this: has there ever been an Italian to perform well while wearing a red jersey?

The sad truth is, Giovinco will arrive in Toronto with high expectations, both from him and on him, soon to be shattered by the reality that is the horrowshow of Toronto FC.

He’ll be back in Torino by the next January Transfer Window.

*I am well aware that Juventus have been pretty terrible in Champions League in recent history, hence the “calibre” addition.

**Cue angry comments from Juventini. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re innocent little lambs.

Sonja MISSIO

Nationality:
Canada
College:
Univ. of Guelph, Univ. of W. Ontario, Brock University
Club Domestic:
Toronto FC
Club Foreign:
Udinese
Supported Udinese since birth, TFC was her own stupid decision; writing on her masochistic relationship with soccer started after. Doomed as a Canadian - Friulano - Swiss - Filipina. Searching for Juventini actually from Turin and running for FIFA Prez.
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