Report: Toronto FC target Italian striker Alberto Gilardino for Designated Player spot
Toronto FC, after the latest midseason overhaul, promised their new crop of Designated Players would be proven commodities.
It doesn't get much more proven than Alberto Gilardino.
According to reports from Goal.com, the Italian international has been identified as one of TFC's top targets this offseason. Gilardino, 31, has been one of the most consistent strikers in Europe over the past dozen years, scoring 160 times in Serie A with seven different clubs. That's good enough for 17th on the all-time Serie A list, and third among active players.
Most recently, Gilardino has been plying his trade with Genoa after a year spent on loan with Bologna. He's scored just once this year, but a strong 2012-13 season – he scored 13 times in 35 games with the Rossoblù – saw him not only guide his team to mid-table safety, but also catch the interest of Italian national team boss Cesare Prandelli.
Gilardino's efforts were rewarded with a spot on this summer's Italy squad for the 2013 Confederations Cup, as well as several recent World Cup qualifiers. He made good on the chance, scoring the game-winner against Bulgaria, his 19th tally in 56 international appearances.
With Gilardino in competition for a spot on the roster for next summer's World Cup in Brazil, it appears unlikely that he'd leave Italy until next summer's transfer window. As he is under contract with Genoa until the 2015/16 season, he also may require a transfer fee.
Toronto FC didn't immediately respond to a request from MLSsoccer.com for comment on the story.