The ingenious method used by Toronto to sign Lorenzo Insigne
'I actually went to the Transfermarkt website and I looked up the Italian national team on what players were coming out of contract'
Toronto FC president Bill Manning has revealed that he used popular website Transfermarkt to find out of contract Italian players before signing Lorenzo Insigne.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit announced the signing of attacker Insigne earlier this week, where he will become the highest paid player in the history of the league after agreeing to join Toronto on a free transfer.
The Italian will earn a reported $15m (£11m) per year, which comfortably beats Zlatan Ibrahimovic's $7.2m salary at LA Galaxy.
Following the announcement of the signing, Manning explained that the hunt to sign the Napoli captain started last summer out of concern at club's direction.
With team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment hosting a board meeting in September, he began to research possible transfer targets.
The process saw Manning use Transfermarkt - which is a German-based website owned by Axel Springer that has footballing information, such as scores, results, statistics, transfer news and fixtures.
"I actually went to the Transfermarkt website and I looked up the Italian national team on what players were coming out of contract," Manning told reporters.
"And Lorenzo was one of the few players that was coming out of contract. I started writing down players that I thought were world-class, that I thought would have commercial value in this market."
🗣️ "He's a transformational player for us, and our league.."#TFCLive president Bill Manning tells @LukeWileman how @TorontoFC pulled off the signing of Italian 🇮🇹⚽️superstar Lorenzo Insigne‼️ .. and what could be next ⬇️👀 pic.twitter.com/40IxSoHw1f
— TSN Soccer (@TSNSoccer) January 8, 2022
Manning - who was hired in 2015 - also claimed that Insigne was 'the first name on the list' in his "vision on what we need to do to reinvigorate our club."
He suggested that the transfer is a "transformational signing" for both the club and league, adding that he believes the 30-year-old is a player that people will want to watch in action.
Manning added: "Toronto FC's really been out of market for two full seasons (due to the pandemic). And we lost a buzz. We lost a buzz in this market.
"Lorenzo Insigne is going to be a player that people want to come see."
Having signed a pre-contract agreement with Toronto, Insigne will join on a four-year contract in July once the Serie A season has finished.
He joined Napoli as a 15-year-old, scored 114 goals in 416 appearances and has been club captain since 2019.
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