Well, let me start by saying that Toronto’s rumored DP-move for Canadian International Julian de Guzman makes far more sense that the typical Toronto DP-rumor (Gaizka Mendieta! Joey Barton!). This move is at least defensible for more than a couple of reasons. But here is my big question – is de Guzman really the kind of player than you want to spend a DP spot on?
Reasons in favor:
- He has been a fixture for a decent Spanish La Liga team and before that with a decent Bundisliga team. That’s no small achievement.
- He appears to actually want to go to Toronto (where he grew up) unlike some DPs who appear to be dragged here by their agents and the associated $$ signs.
- Is a 5-ft-6 defensive midfielder really the kind of game-changer that an MLS team would want to spend DP money on? I can understand if the guy were built like Patrick Viera and played that position. I can understand if the guy was built like he is but played a different position. But as it stands now, is this guy the ballwinner (both in the air and on the ground) that this position demands in this league. Now, if he is more of a no. 10, then maybe this will work.
- What does it say about this guy that he wants to head home from Europe before he even turns 30? He should be a target for other Deportivo-level clubs across Europe, especially considering that he is out of contract and would not require a fee. Maybe he just wants to come home and live out a dream playing pro soccer in Toronto, there is nothing wrong with that. But what if it’s something else?
What do you think? Does this sound like a good move for TFC?
I’ve now heard three or four people (including Beau Dure) express worry over the Onyewu to Milan move. Is Milan deep? Sure it is. But it’s also old. And so far, there is zero evidence to show that this is any kind of shirt-selling, American marketing ambition behind this deal. Are we really so cynical as to immediately fear for a player’s form and career whenever one signs for a big European club? Shouldn’t we be thrilled about this? Of course.
There are plenty of very good reasons that Milan signed him:
- He showed an ability to compete with some of the best players in the world in the Confederations Cup and elsewhere
- He has physical attributes that coaches everywhere dream of in a central defender
- He possesses a Belgian passport, meaning he does not count against Milan’s foreigner limit
- He was signed out of contract without a transfer fee
Allow me to compare him for a moment to another player from an “unfancied” soccer country, who, when signed, was assumed to be for commercial rather than on-the-field reasons – Park Ji Sung of Manchester United. Park has quickly become a fan, and managerial favorite at Old Trafford, and I see no reason why “Gooch” couldn’t do the same thing at the San Siro.
So Oguchi Onyewu becomes the first American* to join Milan and only the second to go to Serie A. It’s a great move, and I truly hope he does well there not just for him, but for the other American players who might do well in Serie A, a league where players are allowed a touch more time and space on the ball and an environment where some US players (especially attacking ones) might thrive.
That said, if he thinks the racist abuse was unpleasant in Belgium, I wonder what he’s going to face at his first road trip to Lazio?
*Author’s note: I am not counting Rossi, because it’s my blog and I can pout if I want to.