Toronto FC have pulled off a major transfer coup with the capture of Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco.
The MLS club announced the signing at a press conference on Monday afternoon, with Giovinco signing a Designated Player deal to arrive in Toronto at the end of the current Serie A season.
“Today marks a very special day for Toronto FC with the addition of Sebastian Giovinco,” general manager Tim Bezbatchenko told the club’s official website.
“Seba is in the prime of his career and he has chosen to join Toronto FC and MLS at a time when many of the top clubs in the world were pursuing him.
“We are very pleased to bring a fantastic player to Toronto FC for our club and for our fans, especially those in the Italian community.”
Giovinco, 27, is out of contract with Juventus in the summer, and has made just 11 appearances this season for a total of 263 minutes after falling out of favour under manager Massimiliano Allegri.
Nevertheless, that had done little to deter reported interested in his signature, with the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur said to have been looking to take advantage of his situation this month, according to several British media outlets including TalkSport.
Once hailed as a future star of the national team, the diminutive Italian will instead leave his childhood club to head across the Atlantic, where it’s hoped that he will help guide Toronto to their first-ever post-season appearance.
“I am excited to sign with Toronto FC today and look forward to joining the club this summer,” the 20-times capped international said.
“I have heard so many great things about Toronto over the years and I know that it will be a city that I feel right at home in.
“Until then, I have many things I still want to accomplish for Juventus and our fans. I will always give my heart and soul for Juve until I change shirts this summer.”
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the Toronto Sun have reported that Giovinco’s annual salary will come in at around $7 million, plus marketing of "less than a million”, to rival Orlando City’s Kaka for the most lucrative contract in MLS.
With Jozy Altidore also arriving from Sunderland last week in a swap deal for the unsettled Jermain Defoe, Toronto have certainly made the biggest splash of the MLS offseason thus far, and fans will hope that these latest additions can prove the turning point for the oft-troubled franchise.