South American Soccer

TFC announces signing of new Designated Player Gilberto

GilbertoPortuguesa1-Santos (FotoArena)


MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke and Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko’s vision to field a strong TFC lineup next season is slowly beginning to form.

The club announced today that they have signed Brazilian forward Gilberto to be the team’s next Designated Player signing, pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and his visa. Gilberto instantly adds a new attacking threat to TFC’s lineup, having scored 14 goals in 24 matches in Brazil’s Serie A this past season.

“Gilberto is a great DP addition to our roster. He’s young, incredibly talented and a proven goal scorer at every level he’s played,” Bezbatchenko in a press release. “The Brazilian Serie A is one of the best leagues in the world and acquiring a top striker from that league is a testament to the faith Gilberto has in what we are doing at our club.

“We promised our fans back in September that this Club would make bold moves this offseason and that they should evaluate our progress in January. We feel that this is a key step and we will continue to work towards delivering on that promise over the next month.”

The 24-year-old Gilberto faces a real challenge in Major League Soccer as it’s the first time he’s played outside of Brazil. After coming up through the youth ranks of Santa Cruz, Gilberto made a big move in 2011 to Internacional of Porto Alegre. Unfortunately for Gilberto, he struggled to earn a regular place in the starting lineup and was eventually loaned out to Sport Recife in 2012 and Portuguesa this past season.

On the plus side for TFC, they reportedly beat out a number of European teams for Gilberto’s signature, and if this past season isn’t an aberration, they’re signing a talented player who is just entering his prime. They’ll be hoping Gilberto’s signing doesn’t follow the path of Designated Player signings from Toronto’s previous regimes, with Mista, Torsten Frings, and Danny Koevermans failing to live up to expectations.

Matias Laba, signed last year as a young Designated Player, played well but missed the last two months of the season with a fractured toe.

Gilberto is reportedly just the first of two Designated Player signings that TFC will make this offseason, with their top target remaining Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe.


What do you think of this signing? Excited for Toronto FC? Think that Gilberto can make a difference in MLS? Do you believe that Jermain Defoe is coming next?

Share your thoughts below.

    • Vic

      Exactly. They should have waited 10 years so he could have had a successfull European career and proven himself first.


      • Madden's Chin

        Given how valuable DP spots for clubs–and how damaging a failed one can be to the team in all facets–an older, yet proven player should always be taken over someone who by the reports own admission has been loaned out in an equal league several times for lack of production.

        Given the DP structure and its role for teams–anything but a surefire talent is ridiculous.


      • Gary Page

        The only way MLS is going to improve is to take some risk with younger players. 14 in 24 in Brazil’s top league by a 24 year old is a great signing.


      • dude

        Can’t say I agree.

        This looks to be as sound an investment as any. It could certainly not work out, but at least he has an actual goal scoring record as a starter in Brazil. 14 in 24 are good numbers, but he still might be a bust- the important thing is he’s not on loan from a club that wanted him to play somewhere else for a bit. He’s young, so he could be around for several seasons, and improve. As opposed to signing a much older player for a lot more money, who might not work out either. Henry has been great, but it’s Henry, he’s only going to New York.

        My main objection to anyone saying that a DP signing is a huge investment that should only go to older players is, the owners pay. It’s a cut on the salary cap, but if a club is invested in having a DP every year, what’s the harm in trying this guy out? He doesn’t work out, you’re making another investment next year. I never cry over owners wasting money, that’s what they’re there for. How well the money is spent comes down to the organization. So let’s see if this guy cuts it. If he does, it’s good for the league.


      • RAMONE

        I agree with the last part. You just don’t sign “maybe” DPs to contracts you are going to regret (long term, ridiculous numbers).

        A few DPs make less than $500k and several more in that $500k to $1m range … it isn’t like they all get Beckham, Henry, or Dempsey type money.


  • Smith

    Eh. TFC will still stink & their fans will still be very impressed with themselves.


    Wake me up when these guys make the playoffs.


  • OZ

    Underwhelming…probably why Mr. Hollywood Lieweke didn’t bother showing up for this press conference…TFC afterall is his first priority….

    Lets face it what big name player wants to be coached by Ryan Nelsen…Nelsen will not be respected by older more established players with his rugby style tactics…easier to coach a kid then an older established player…


  • OZ

    …talk about knowing when to sell high..the Brazilian team was glad to sell this guy for a premium….guaranteed from an honest North American club….after his first and only decent season…at 24 … I would say there are some very happy people at Internacional and better yet he was on loan so he doesn’t influence the first team.

    Would like to find out if this guy was offered to TFC when they worked on getting Forlan from the same team this past summer.


  • TwoSidesToAStory

    Very risky but sometimes, big risk = big reward.

    TFC can’t fall much lower than they are right now so might as well swing for the fences


  • mike

    Can someone clue me in?
    Why would Gilberto come to MLS?
    I’m wondering if international players see an MLS move as a challenge football wise, a better paycheck (no idea what they pay in Brazil, or if somehow MLS provides some greater vantage point other than proximity to being scouted/bought by Europe based teams.


  • Vinny Parmagiana

    Frings and Koevermans did quite well and were good signings. Injuries happen, to DPs and young prospects alike. C’est la vie


    • John

      Just over 3 million I believe. Toronto would foot the bill I would assume as it doesn’t really raise the profile of the league.


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