Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The DeRo Dilemma...and why he needs to go.

Toronto FC's Dwayne De Rosario, left, trains with Celtic FC in Lennoxtown, Scotland on Dec. 28, 2010. To the right is Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, also on trial.

Over the last few days long suffering Toronto FC supporters have been watching an evolving soap opera of events take place at the club between management and its best player Dwayne DeRosario. And just like a soap there is a third party to complete the sordid triangle in legendary Scottish club Celtic. All jokes aside this trial...or training or tryout whatever DeRo's camp is calling it is starting to become an unwelcome distraction of a club that is trying to sort itself out for the upcoming MLS season.

The facts are this, DeRosario has gone to Scotland to "workout" with Celtic for a week in Scotland to keep himself fit..... in his terms. TFC first came out on Monday denying that DeRo was even in Scotland, then had to admit he was there when pictures surfaced of him in Celtic training gear in Lennoxtown. Now the club has come out stating that they knew he wanted to go but had no permission from the club to go train. Then there is Celtic who seemed to be convinced that a) The player and agent had permission from the club and b) that he was on trial with the possibility of a short term lease, or even a permanent switch.

On the surface the issue is whither or not permission to train with Celtic was given by MLSE to DeRo, right now things do not look good for the TFC captain as both the club and the league appear to be in the dark about the whole thing if you read their statements. However if you scratch below the surface the issues between club and player are coming to a head.

Last seasons cheque writing goal celebration  by DeRo put him in the dog house for the first time since his arrival in early 2009. It was clear money was an issue for the captain who felt he should be receiving DP level money considering he was by far the club's best player. Although he may have been right in asking for a raise, the way in which he went about it was "unacceptable" in the eyes of club President Tom Anselmi and put the club in a difficult position, say nothing and you are seen as condoning the behavior, say too much too strongly and best player demands a move out.

This latest move by DeRosario once again puts the club in the same position with an added dilemma, "should we let him go?"

On this question you will get many different reactions some for, many against but what supporters and management have to weigh is " What's more important? star power and drawing power? or building a strong nucleus for the club?"

Right now DeRosario is in the middle of a 4 year deal with a roughly $400,000 a year salary. That made him the 3rd highest paid player on the squad behind Julian DeGuzman and the now departed Mista. If you take that $400,000 hit off the salary cap, TFC could bring in a lot of good pieces that could make this club a contender in the MLS very quickly and very cheaply. However the down side is the loss of quality, there can be no doubt that he is the most gifted player on the squad, who can go on massive goal scoring runs. But how many times last year was it asked, who else is going to score the goals? Who will provide the wide play? Who can stop the other teams best player? Sending DeRo and his massive contact to Scotland could begin to answer some of these questions.

Here's what Dwayne needs to understand, with his current contact and the club's current salary cap situation he CANNOT get a raise his salary is at the max for a non DP. As for the oft wondered option of making him a DP the answer is probably a no as well. The league likes to have clubs reserve those spots for international talent coming from overseas; plus the only "life long MLS'er" who has made that jump is Landon Donovan for political reasons more than anything. So unless DeRosario can find a way to live with his contact he could be seeing the door sooner rather than later.

At 32 he has only a hand full of real options available to him, one is to try and make a last ditch effort to catch on with a club in Europe (which he's trying to do now, no matter how much he denies it) Try and force a trade to another MLS club, but seeing how the re-entry went not a lot of teams are looking to pick up big ticket contacts right now. The third is to stay put.

Whatever he decides to do this latest move by the Canadian international is one of serious disrespect to both the club management no matter what you think of them, and to the supporters who will not take this one lying down.

Mike N

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