This article was published before Toronto FC's transfer of Sebastian Giovinco to Al-Hilal FC.
The surprising maneuver has kicked off a lively round of debate over whom the Reds could be in line to chase. Far less surprisingly, we're here to weigh in on the subject.
Of course, this is no exact science. The Reds have a new GM and portions of the squad have already been rebuilt since last season. Meanwhile, transfer talk continues to regularly swirl around both Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco; obviously, either leaving would further shake up the roster in a major way.
Long story short, I shuffled the order of these five potential allocation targets too many times to count while putting this together. It's a tricky question, even if this bit is a pure "should chase" exercise and not any sort of prediction as to what Curtis is plotting.
Reminder: only players who are currently listed on the allocation list can be signed using the mechanism.
No. 5: Julian Green
It doesn't take five seconds looking the TFC roster to notice that, beyond their starting wingbacks, it's way too light on threats from the wing of any stripe. Green has most often been used as a sort of No. 10 playmaker with current club Greuther Furth, but that is definitely not the US international's ideal field station.
No, his potential is much greater when he's running at defenders from the wing, getting loose on the counter with clever teammates and providing a jailbreak threat when his team is packed into their end protecting a late lead. And hey, we already know that Michael Bradley can pick him out for prime scoring chances.
I'm not suggesting that Green is a sure bet to star in MLS, but do believe that his potential fit with TFC would give the 23-year-old about as good a shot at thriving as he'd find anywhere in the league.
No. 4: Andy Najar
It may not initially seem an easy feat to pry the Honduras wide man away from Anderlecht. Najar has now spent over six years at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, celebrating a few league crowns and racking up 27 Champions League/Europa League appearances. Sounds fun, to be sure, but hear me out.
The 25-year-old will enter the final year of his Mauves contract this coming summer, and isn't in the best bargaining position considering the fact that injuries have limited him to 41 overall matches over the last two-and-a-half seasons. Najar has also never really fulfilled his offensive potential at Anderlecht, and that's likely because nearly half his outings there came in various positions at the back.
Heck, this season, he's even played six games as part of a three-man back line, while the club have picked up no less than four younger wingers since summer. He certainly wouldn't have that type of governor on his game with the Reds, allowing him to get back to his natural best.
No. 3: Cyle Larin
There's no bonafide central playmaker available, but the Reds could always drop Giovinco into the hole and then beef up their strike force. That's where the Besiktas forward, who at 23 already has three MLS seasons scoring in double figures on his resume, comes in.
The target striker has over three years left on his Black Eagles deal, but he's routinely been stuck behind a gaggle of 30-somethings, and rumors have been rife that the Istanbul giants could be ready to move him back to our shores since fall.
And, of course, bringing Larin aboard would also add some welcome Canuck cachet to the TFC squad — he has more senior caps to his credit than the club's other three Canada internationals combined.
No. 2: Fabian Johnson
I can't remember, did I already mention that TFC could use a premium wide threat for the attack? The Borussia Monchengladbach veteran is easily the most seasoned, reliable option to fit that bill on the allocation list.
Would he come to MLS? Would he be affordable enough for a team with three Designated Players already in tow? Well, just last autumn, Yahoo's Doug McIntyre reported that Johnson was indeed interested in joining FC Cincinnati for a good-value TAM salary. Since then, he's become second choice at 'Gladbach, starting just twice since September. And like Najar, the 31-year-old enters the last year of his current deal in July.
Naturally, Johnson also comes with the added bonus of being able top provide top-notch crisis cover at both fullback spots, something coach Greg Vanney should certainly not say no to.
No. 1: Erick “Cubo” Torres
While Larin could make for a catch worth dropping Giovinco into more of a Wesley Sneijder-esque dual-threat attack quarterback role, it says here there's an even better forward choice on the allocation list. Just imagine the damage Torres could do in TFC's ground-game attack with Altidore and the Atomic Ant constantly hogging the attention of opposing defenses. I have, and it's a scary visualization.
Cubo didn't see so much playing time after joining Pumas from the Houston Dynamo a year ago, only scored once after making his pre-Apertura move to Club Tijuana and is back to struggling to find the pitch early in the new Clausura season. Simply put, the Mexico international has never looked too cozy playing in his home country's top division.
Could he be lured back to the league where he's enjoyed All-Star level success? I can't say, but from this viewpoint, it could be well worth the ask.