Toronto FC emerging as strong force for 2015 MLS season

Toronto FC are starting to build a formidable line-up and are starting to emerge as a real force to be reckoned with before the 2015 MLS season has even started.

Last week saw Juventus star Sebastian Giovinco agree to join the Canadian side in July, only days after they had secured the services of striker Jozy Altidore from Sunderland.

In the last 24 hours, they have also managed to sign midfielder Benoit Cheyrou. With an attacking spine consisting of Michael Bradley, Cheyrou, Giovinco and Altidore, Toronto look as though they are going to be a real threat in 2015.

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Benoit Cheyrou made 305 appearances for French side Marseille in the last seven years between 2007 and 2014, contributing 28 goals and 32 assists. He also had spells in France with Lille and Auxerre.

Cheyrou’s arrival allows his fellow attacking players to have full freedom of the pitch and as a Ligue 1 title-winner with Marseille in 2010, as well as playing regular Champions League football, his experience will be invaluable to the team.

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Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko said, “Benoit’s vision and his ability to distribute the ball are two very distinct qualities that have made him such a successful player throughout his career both domestically in France and in European competition,” when speaking to the club website.

“He has a wealth of experience and success and is another important piece that complements the ones we currently have in place. We are very excited to bring him to Toronto FC,” he added.

Cheyrou himself has said that he’s “very excited to sign for Toronto FC” and that he “cannot wait to wear the jersey and join my new teammates.”

Will Toronto FC challenge for Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup glory in 2015?

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Three potential signings to replace Landon Donovan at LA Galaxy

With the recent retirement of Landon Donovan, the LA Galaxy has a huge hole to fill in their squad and an unoccupied designated player slot too. Though replacing the US soccer legend is no easy task.

Donovan leaves behind a great legacy with the Galaxy having recently lead them to his fourth MLS Cup title with the franchise and his sixth overall – the most titles won by any player.

However, it remains to be seen how LA will look to replace him. An attacking option is set to be added to the squad before the start of the new MLS season in March. Though they may wait until the summer if the right name is available then.

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Much of the post-Donovan chat has been on the permanent move to MLS for Erick Torres, but he has gone back to parent club Chivas Guadalajara in Mexico to help with their ongoing relegation struggle.

Bruce Arena may have to adjust his formation due to the loss of Donovan, which could expand the potential list of suitors.

His current 4-4-2 formation has seemed to work for some time now, but the loss of Donavan leaves a huge hole in the Galaxy squad.

Here are three potential replacements:

Darren Bent (Striker) – Aston Villa (England)

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England international striker Darren Bent has been somewhat of a forgotten man since Paul Lambert took over the reigns at Villa. And so Bent could do with a new challenge after seeing his starting place handed to Belgium front man Christian Benteke.

He could be a great partner for MLS MVP Robbie Keane, having previously played at Tottenham Hotspur as well as at Villa together. But this would mean re-positioning Gyasi Zardes from the Galaxy attack to accommodate Bent.

Ronaldinho (Attacking Midfielder) – Querétaro F.C. (Mexico)

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The World Cup winning Brazilian needs no introduction and a move to MLS giants LA Galaxy could be the swansong he deserves.

Ronaldinho can operate on either flank, through the middle or up front so he would be a suitable replacement for Donovan in terms of versatility. However, he doesn’t posses the defensive qualities of Donovan and so Zardes could be forced out wide to accommodate Ronaldinho’s arrival too.

Andrea Pirlo (Midfielder) – Juventus (Italy)

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Pass-master Pirlo is a World Cup winner like Ronaldinho and would further strengthen the Galaxy midfield. Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho could benefit by having Pirlo just in behind them to give them more freedom to attack.

He’s been linked with a move recently and the potential signing of Pirlo could would allow Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes to continue their lethal strike partnership, while giving them a player who can provide service from deeper.

Who do you think LA Galaxy will replace Landon Donovan with?

Should LA Galaxy consider taking Darren Bent to MLS?

Aston Villa forward Darren Bent has a wealth of talent in front of goal and will always find the net, but with a lack of playing time in the Premier League could he be tempted by a move to Major League Soccer?

He has found himself a little out of favour with the Midlands side and is currently spending time with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion on a short-term loan spell.

It could be the right time for Bent to take on a new challenge and MLS could be a great destination for him.

As we know LA Galaxy are still on the hunt for a replacement for Landon Donovan and it could be a great move for both sides if the Galaxy took a gamble on the 30-year-old.

Galaxy star Robbie Keane has played with Bent at both Tottenham and Aston Villa and so the pair could form a solid partnership in MLS if the Englishman were targeted.

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Bent is at a good age for a move stateside and can take many positives from other former Premier League strikers who are now thriving in Major League Soccer.

The likes of Keane and Jermain Defoe have set the league alight and are idolised by their club’s supporters as a result. For any striker this is a perfect scenario, as it boosts confidence to the maximum.

Bent has scored wherever he has played and he netted for current side Brighton just three days after joining on loan.

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MLS would offer him a great opportunity to enjoy his football and find consistent playing time, where he would probably play 90 minutes every game.

He has an impressive strike rate of almost one in two and with an outlet like him, LA Galaxy would find themselves in an even stronger position to challenge on all fronts once again this season.

The experience he can bring to any squad is worthwhile and he could also set a great example to up-and-coming young players.

Would Darren Bent be an MLS success if he were to move stateside?

New England Revolution join Orlando City in race for Robinho – report

Robinho is continuing to be linked with a move to Major League Soccer as New England Revolution are the latest team to be touted as a possible destination for the skillful Brazilian.

The 30-year-old forward is currently on loan at Santos and although he has been linked with a move to Orlando City for several months, owner Flavio Augusto claims they are not interested in him.

The Lions added Bryan Rochez to the squad as a designated player this week, joining Kaka, and they are apparently unwilling to fill their third and final DP slot with the AC Milan man.

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And it seems that New England Revolution are interested in bringing Robinho to MLS as a designated player to give the side a much needed out-and-out forward who could score goals.

The report comes from Portuguese-language site Soccerazo, which claims:

“A new club has stepped in [for Robinho] – MLS Cup finalists, the New England Revolution. Sources indicate that Jermaine Jones’s team is interested in securing the addition of Robinho to compensate for the possible exit of Lee Nguyen.

“There are two other clubs in pursuit of the player – but they do not play in MLS, they are Atlas and Tigres of Mexico.”

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If Lee Nguyen were to leave, New England would desperately need a player of Robinho’s quality to step in. But the Brazilian would thrive in the same side as Nguyen, if the Revs star man were to stay in what would be a lethal attack.

It is difficult to assess how accurate the report is, but it would appear too early to rule out an MLS move for Robinho.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester City man would be an exciting addition to the league but Liga MX clubs will also be looking to bring in the Brazilian star.

Would Robinho be a good signing for the New England Revolution?

Should Samuel Eto’o make the move to MLS?

Samuel Eto’o has become a free agent following his contract expiring at Chelsea. The 33 year-old striker has been heavily linked with MLS since the turn of year after many assumed his contract would not be renewed at the West London club.

Eto’o has scored at every club he’s played for, including nine last term for Chelsea, and is set to play in the World Cup this summer for Cameroon.

But should he move to Major League Soccer, who would he best suit?

Assuming he would almost certainly demand a designated player spot, it rules out the LA Galaxy, who have been strongly linked with the veteran.

Galaxy have been linked with many key players who would require a designated player slot in the squad, and two of those positions are already filled by strikers, in Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.

DC united are another team that are supposedly interested in Eto’o, however they already have Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola as strike options and Eto’o would be an expensive acquisition in a position they are already strong in.

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There are obviously teams which need him more desperately, but I think he will delay the move until the New York City franchise starts up next season.

The new franchise enters Major League Soccer next season, in early 2015, and the striker will be able to earn the high wage that he would request with a move to NYCFC.

Until then I think his next move after the World Cup will be a temporary deal to Paris Saint-Germain, where his wife and children are currently living.

Eto’o is not opposed to moving to apparent ‘lesser’ leagues, as he made the move to Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia just a few seasons ago.

The striker will bring bags of experience to MLS if he were to move, having won titles in Spain and Italy as well as having three UEFA Champions League winners’ medals.

His next move is likely to be his last big move, and with MLS growing substantially by the year, there is no reason why Eto’o shouldn’t further its development with a big move stateside.

Where do you see Samuel Eto’o playing next?

Orlando City targeting Brazilian superstars

Orlando City SC are looking at bringing in Brazilian midfielders Robinho and Kaka from AC Milan ahead of their debut season in Major League Soccer next year, according to reports across Italy.

The Orlando City franchise are set to join MLS next season, at the start of 2015, and have made the Brazilian stars their transfer priorities.

Kaka has been linked with the move since March, after he visited the franchise’s training facilities with owner and friend Flávio Augusto Da Silva.

Speaking to Corriere della Sera, the former Ballon d’Or winner stated that his next move will be to the US, when he leaves Milan for the second time in his career.

“One day, I would like to play in America, let’s see. At the end of the season, I will talk to [general manager Adriano Galliani]. Not just to speak about bonuses and money, money is not the main thing for me now, and I think that is understood.”

“If it turns out I need to move, I will choose the MLS,” Kaka added.

The 32-year-old would be an incredible coup for Orlando City, and Major League Soccer as well if he were to make the move stateside.

And today’s reports from Italy indicate that Robinho is also keen to make the move across to the US, following teammate Kaka to Orlando.

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(Photo: Thumbs up from Robinho, who fancies the move to MLS)

The Gazzetta dello Sport have reported that the former Real Madrid and Manchester City winger has the option to move to Orlando in time for next season, as well as having offers from Brazil.

The 30-year-old is set to leave Milan this summer, and it is believed that his likes the option of an extended break before joining up with Orlando City in time for next season.

His flair would certainly light up MLS and he would undoubtedly thrive in the league.

The same report confirms that Kaka is also likely to join the side in time for the new season, but he will remain with Milan until January, before heading over to the US.

Both Kaka and Robinho were omitted from the Brazilian national side for this summer’s World Cup and are now ready to enjoy a new challenge away from European football.

Do you think Kaka and Robinho will make the move to Orlando City?