By DAN KARELL
While Jermain Defoe’s transfer to Toronto FC was slowly reported over the last few months, news of Michael Bradley’s stunning return to Major League Soccer seemingly came out of the blue.
And according to Bradley’s agent Ron Waxman, that perception isn’t far from the truth.
Speaking to Goal USA’s Ives Galarcep, Waxman detailed the workings behind Bradley’s $10 million transfer to TFC, in which the 26-year-old midfielder signed a six-year, $40 million contract. Waxman explained that two weeks before the transfer was completed, he decided to approach the TFC brass with the possibility of Bradley coming back to North America.
“I know (Toronto FC general manager) Tim Bezbatchenko well from deals we had done together and I know (Toronto FC CEO) Tim Lieweke gets things done and is a winner,” Waxman told Goal USA. “Toronto FC just seemed like a perfect fit, and Michael was exactly the kind of player they needed, so once I knew Toronto was interested in making something happen MLS was made aware so the process could begin.”
After speaking with Waxman, TFC stepped up to the plate and offered the whopping $40 million deal, one of the largest in MLS history. At that point, all that was left to do was for Bradley to speak with the TFC trio who were interested in signing him.
Once Bradley spoke with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke, TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, and TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen, the U.S. Men’s National Team star was “sold” on returning to play in MLS.
“It happened very quickly,” Bradley told Goal USA. “It turned from an idea or some interest into a reality. When I learned about Toronto FC’s interest and was able to speak to Tim Lieweke and Tim Bezbatchenko and Ryan Nelson, I realized really quickly how committed they were to building something special here. How motivated they were. How excited they were by the potential at this club. The more I spoke to them, the more I thought about things, this was something I wanted to be a part of.”
“This was an opportunity I didn’t want to let pass me by,” Bradley continued. “If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d be back in MLS at this moment I probably would have answered no. But I think there’s certain moments in life when you have to have the ability to forget about everything else and only look at what’s in front of you and then make a decision about what’s best for you. What motivates you, and for me that’s what this is all about.
What do you think of this report? Which details of the transfer do you find most interesting? Impressed with the speed in which it was completed? Do you think Bradley still should have turned down a $40 million contract?
Share your thoughts below.