TORONTO — A week ago, the rumor du jour around Toronto FC was that Bolton Wanderers forward Kevin Davies was headed to Hogtown to bolster Ryan Nelsen’s attacking contingent.
Upon an official announcement last week from Davies that he would not be moving to Toronto this season, the rumor mill has now moved onto a new trio of high-profile players, with reports suggesting that the TFC brass are interested into bringing in US international Herculez Gomez, former South Korea international Park Ji-Sung and English winger Jermaine Pennant.
While he didn’t officially confirm that Toronto were negotiating with any the players, Nelsen was open in expressing his admiration for Gomez, Pennant and Park following TFC’s training session on Tuesday.
“I think Herculez is a great player,” Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com. “He struggled to make his name early on in the MLS and then has just excelled since going to Mexico. Some players are late developers. Chris Wondolowski was a late developer and it seems like he has been the same. Playing in Mexico, [Gomez] has just grown in leaps and bounds. He is a really good player. Any MLS team would love to have him.
“Jermaine is a really good and talented player. He did really well early on his career and I think is probably just finding his way at the moment. Any team would like to have him as well.”
With Vancouver Whitecaps right back Young-Pyo Lee stating recently that he was regularly in touch with former Manchester United star Park and open to recruiting him for his current team, Nelsen was quick to state that the lines of communication between him and his former Queens Park Rangers teammate were certainly open.
“Again, any team would like to have a player like him,” Nelsen said. “I can call up Ji right now if you want and see if he wants to come. I speak to Ji all the time and he has me on his speed dial if he ever wants to come to MLS.”
Ultimately, whether the rumors surrounding Toronto and Gomez, Park and Pennant end up having legitimacy, Nelsen was adamant that evaluating the character of any incoming players will be a fundamental part of the due diligence that TFC do moving forward.
“They have to be willing to win and have to want to win,” Nelsen said. “There won’t be any coming here as a step down or anything like that. I think most MLS teams have been burned in the past with players who haven’t had the right attitude when they have come to the league. We only want players who really want to win.”