How Toronto FC landed Lorenzo Insigne – The Athletic

Bill Manning had seen enough.

In front of a meager 7,970 fans at BMO Field, Inter Miami defender Christian Makoun sank Toronto FC with another late goal. It was Toronto’s sixth straight loss – their second such streak of 2021.

In terms of interest and attendance, Toronto’s once-hip franchise had lost the cache it racked up with its 2017 MLS Cup win. Even in their darkest years, BMO Field would be filled with its typically rowdy. But in September, the club was knocked out of the playoffs, confirming two straight seasons without a playoff win.

The frustrated and exasperated club president realized it was time to wipe the slate clean and dream big, much like Manning’s counterpart with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Shanahan, did early in the season. 2015 when he proposed a reconstruction of the club in Scorched Earth.

And so, just as Shanahan had presented his plan to the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment board of directors more than six years earlier, Manning came before the eight-person board with TFC at one of the lowest moments. of the club’s history to launch his plan: he wanted Toronto FC to be more ambitious than ever in their quest for trophies.

Like Shanahan, he hoped his proposal would change the face of the franchise.

And the massive effort to make Italian striker Lorenzo Insigne the highest-paid player in MLS history achieved that goal.

Looking back, Federico Bernardeschi scoring the crucial third goal in the shootout to help Italy beat England in the Euro 2020 final had a serious knock-on effect for TFC.

Manning watched as thousands gathered in excitement on Toronto’s closed College Street.

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