TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Report
Ahead of the 2015 season, Tim Bezbatchenko played a significant role in getting Sebastian Giovinco to Toronto FC, then as the Italian forward departed Juventus.
Now, after Giovinco has mutually terminated his contract with Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal, reports have surfaced that Bezbatchenko is looking to bring the Atomic Ant back to Major League Soccer.
According to Nicolo Schira, Giovinco is in talks to join the Columbus Crew, the club where Bezbatchenko serves as president and general manager.
Giovinco was electric in Toronto, a Designated Player who was part of the Reds’ treble-winning side in 2017 that brought home MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship silverware. Winner of the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award in 2015, he recorded an astounding 62 goals and 58 assists across 114 regular-season appearances.
But Giovinco departed Toronto ahead of the 2019 campaign, joining Al-Hilal FC via a transfer. He proceeded to win two domestic titles and one AFC Champions League title with them, capitalizing on his time in the Middle East.
Should Giovinco join Columbus, it’d give the defending MLS Cup champions a premier attacker. They’d also have two of MLS’ best-ever free-kick artists, with Lucas Zelaryan potent over dead-ball scenarios as well.
The only question is how he’d fit onto the Crew’s roster, with Zelarayan, midfielder Darlington Nagbe and forward Gyasi Zardes all holding DP tags. But with injuries hampering Caleb Porter’s team all year, an additional high-end talent would be most welcome. And at 34, Giovinco still has some left in the tank.
Giovinco was previously connected with an MLS return over the winter, then to the LA Galaxy. Head coach Greg Vanney addressed those reports on The Call Up, having worked with Giovinco during their BMO Field days.
The 2021 MLS Roster Freeze Date is September 15, at which time clubs must submit their final 30-man roster.