A potential major new signing in Major League Soccer sent oddsmakers in Canada scrambling to adjust their futures odds Tuesday.
Toronto FC has reportedly agreed to terms with Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne, who will join the Reds once his contract expires next June. After the news broke, British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s PlayNow sportsbook quickly adjusted Toronto’s futures odds to +1600 from +2500. PlayNow is currently the only legal sports betting provider in the province of British Columbia.
Insigne, 30, is in the prime of his career and will instantly become one of the biggest names in MLS once he lands in North America. He’s scored 10 goals in 53 appearances for the Italian national soccer team, and played an instrumental role as a starter during the team’s Euro 2020 title run. He also netted 11 goals across 30 Champions League games for Napoli, further adding to his reputation as a big-game player.
According to transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano, Insigne is “seriously thinking about” a five-year deal worth about $13 million per season, with another $5 million possible in bonuses. Should those contract terms come to fruition, it’ll put the attacker among the highest earners in MLS history. He stands at just 5’4″ and weighs only 130 pounds, but his skillset is top level.
Similar path to Giovinco
Insigne’s potential transfer to TFC mirrors countryman Sebastian Giovinco’s shocking move to Toronto from Serie A in January 2015. Giovinco signed a five-year contract with an annual salary of $7 million, making him the highest paid player in MLS at the time. Toronto FC’s futures moved from +2000 to +1600 after his 2015 transfer, and Giovinco didn’t disappoint, earning MVP honors in his first full MLS season.
Toronto finished sixth in the conference that year, though, and was ousted early in the playoffs. Giovinco peaked in 2017 while with the club, leading it to the Canadian Championship, Supporters’ Shield (best regular season record), and the MLS title. All told, Giovinco spent four years at Toronto FC, scoring 83 goals in 142 appearances, before being sold to a Saudi Arabian club.
“I felt well at a human level, in a city where it’s easy to live. Professionally, you must consider that you may fall off the radar,” Giovinco told Il Corriere dello Sport after hearing of Insigne’s potential transfer to Toronto. “I lost the national team and visibility. If you are open to leaving these things behind, then it’s an experience that I suggest to everyone. Toronto is a wonderful city in a beautiful country. There is a big Italian community and the freedom to go everywhere you want without being disturbed.”
TFC not done yet?
TFC’s futures odds could be on the move again shortly, if the team can snag another high-profile international player during the offseason. Rumors are swirling that the club is looking to pair Insigne with other notable Italian strikers.
There hasn’t been any meaningful communication between Toronto FC and Andrea Belotti (as of today), but I am hearing TFC are in talks with Genoa's Domenico Criscito and another Italian striker from Serie A, per sources. Stay tuned 🇮🇹
— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) December 29, 2021
Toronto finished a disappointing 13th in the Eastern Conference last season, posting a 6-10-18 record. The Reds scored just 39 goals in 34 regular season games and finished with a -27 goal differential, prompting a search for a prominent goal-scorer this winter.
Here’s a look at the MLS teams with better futures odds at PlayNow than Toronto:
- Seattle +625
- New England +650
- LA FC +700
- New York +850
- Kansas City +1100
- Philadelphia +1200
- Atlanta +1400
- LA Galaxy +1500
- Toronto +1600
Photo by Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports