Lorenzo Insigne looks to be on his way to the American Major League Soccer after reportedly agreeing terms with Toronto FC.
Insigne will be breaking the hearts of many European clubs, most notably Tottenham Hotspur and their manager Antonio Conte, who were the frontrunners for the dimunitive Italian’s signature.
Tottenham have slowly built themselves back into a challenging team under the guidance of Conte after falling apart under Nuno Espirito Santo at the beginning of the season. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has promised to back the Italian in his efforts, starting with a squad rebuild this January.
Insigne, who is currently at loggerheads with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, was identified as a key target this summer by Conte. However, the midfielder has chosen to instead move to the MLS with Toronto FC at the age of 30, following the footsteps of compatriot Sebastian Giovinco who moved to the same club at just 28 years old.
Insigne joined Napoli as a teen and has starred for the Parthenopeans since breaking into their senior team in 2012, winning two Coppa Italias and a Supercoppa Italiana in that time. The club currently sits in third place in the Serie A after spending quite some time at the top this season, but look to be as dangerous as ever as they continue their charge for the Serie A title.
The winger is reportedly not keen on leaving his boyhood club but the hierarchy led by De Laurentiis is not willing to meet his wage demands to sign a new contract.
As a result, Insigne has chosen Toronto FC as his new destination, disappointing Conte and Spurs according to SportMediaset and MLS official correspondent Michael Singh. The media outlet claims that Insigne chose this destination out of his love for Napoli, as he would not like to face the club in European competition which could be very likely if he moves to another European club.
The reports also claim that Insigne’s deal with Toronto FC is worth £8 million a year in basic salary with an additional £3.8 million in performances add-ons, linked to personal goals and targets for the next five years. In contrast, Napoli is offering the winger £3 million per year.
Insigne’s move to MLS a lifestyle choice, not a footballing one, claims former agent
Lorenzo Insigne’s former agent Antonio Ottaiano has called his former client’s potential move to the MLS a ‘lifestyle choice’ more than a career one, while also saying that Insigne is leaving Napoli for ‘exhibition football, not a proper competition.’
“It’s a lifestyle choice more than a career one,” Ottaiano told Radio Marte after the news broke.
“A decision like this means playing a very different type of sport. It’s exhibition football, not a proper competition. We’d need to see what his priorities are, who he is getting advice from.
“Naturally, we Italians struggle to understand a move like this, yet Giovinco did it. Only those who are in this situation can understand how much the salary pushes them to accept or not.”
Toronto is also reported to be pushing for a January move and is willing to pay Napoli a transfer fee to make it possible, but it remains to be seen if Insigne or Napoli will take the MLS side up on the offer.