Report: Toronto FC "on the verge of signing" USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley
A third – one that will move the needle in a big way throughout MLS – is now reported to be complete.
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman reported on his Twitter account on Wednesday that TFC are "on the verge" of signing US national team and AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley. Bradley, who began his career in MLS back in 2004, has played overseas since 2006 including star turns for Heerenveen, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Chievo Verona before moving to the Eternal City 18 months ago:
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) January 8, 2014
Minutes after Twellman's tweet, fellow ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas also tweeted that he had confirmed the move:
— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) January 8, 2014
Later on Wednesday afternoon, the No Short Corners blog, which focuses on Americans in Europe, confirmed that the deal is in the works, and ESPN The Magazine's Doug McIntyre tweeted the deal was completed.
— Doug McIntyre (@DougMacESPN) January 8, 2014
Bradley, 26, has been capped 82 times for the USMNT over the past eight years, and is generally regarded as one of the most crucial players in Jurgen Klinsmann's squad. He starred under Bob Bradley, the previous USMNT head coach and Michael's father, in both the 2010 World Cup as well as the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2011 Gold Cup.
The central midfielder began his career in MLS with the MetroStars in 2004, missing his first season due to injury before winning the starting job in 2005. His tactical understanding on both sides of the ball impressed, and an offer from Heerenveen that winter saw Bradley make the move to the Netherlands.
While his European career has been a long and steady rise ever since, and he is a gameday regular for Roma, Bradley hasn't been able to nail down an everyday starting XI job for the ambitious club.
He's regularly split time in a central midfield that includes Italian legend Daniele De Rossi and Dutch international Kevin Strootman, and just this week picked up a new addition in Belgian hard man Radja Nainggolan.
Toronto FC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MLSsoccer.com.
According to ESPNFC.com, MLS is poised to sign Bradley to a contract in the five to six-year range at an annual salary in the neighborhood of $6.5 million, making him one of the highest paid players in the league. The Toronto Star reported Wednesday that the combined value of transfer fees and salaries for Bradley and Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe would reach $100 million.
There was conflicting data in terms of the transfer fee, with one overseas source indicating that Roma expects to receive $7 million. But multiple MLS sources stated that the league expects to pay in excess of $10 million.
The Reds are working on what could be the splashiest offseason in club history. Last month, they signed young Brazilian striker Gilberto to a Designated Player, then selected former captain Dwayne De Rosario in the Re-Entry Draft.
De Rosario will be re-introduced to the club in a press conference on Thursday.