Sebastian Giovinco: Why Leave Juventus for Toronto FC?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 19, 2015

GENOA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 18:  Sebastian Giovinco of Italy looks on during the International Friendly match between Italy and Albania at Luigi Ferraris on November 18, 2014 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Why would Italian deep-lying forward Sebastian Giovinco, 27, leave Juventus for Major League Soccer franchise Toronto FC?

It is the unavoidable question you have to ask.

In order to comprehend why Toronto FC's pitch became so alluring to Giovinco, you need to understand his situation at Juventus.

"I have to evaluate many things but I'm not thinking about [my future]," Giovinco said, per Rai Sport (h/t Richard Arrowsmith at the Daily Mail). "I'll try to give my best, then we'll see later this year if I will continue at Juventus. I hope so."

Doubt crept into Giovinco's mind being the fifth-string forward under Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri.

  • Carlos Tevez: Leads Serie A in goals (13) and is a dual-threat to score or create a goal.
  • Fernando Llorente: A big body up front and acts as a foil to Tevez.
  • Alvaro Morata: Signed from Real Madrid for €20/£15.28 million, the 22-year-old is putting forward a case to permanently displace Llorente in Allegri's starting XI. 
  • Kingsley Coman: One of the brightest prospects in Europe's elite leagues. The 18-year-old's ascension into the first-team may have hastened Giovinco to secure his future elsewhere.

Allegri saw Giovinco as a square peg in a round hole, according to his agent Andrea D'Amico.

"Tevez can't be dropped, that would be unthinkable, and it would be unthinkable to have just an attack of little guys [Tevez and Giovinco]," D'Amico said, per Mediaset's Tiki Taka (h/t Football Italia). "Either there is a viable plan for [Giovinco], or he can leave."

When Allegri uses a central attacking midfielder, the mercurial and versatile Roberto Pereyra is afforded leeway in that role.

"[Giovinco has] practically played more for Italy [than for Juventus]," D'Amico said, per Mediaset's Tiki Taka (h/t Tuttosport via Ben Gladwell at ESPN FC). "We will evaluate other options. There are a lot of clubs interested in him."

You surmise D'Amico is mainly referring to Italian clubs.

Giovinco's current Juventus salary of €2.2/£1.68 million per year would be the most expensive wage on 14 of the 20 Serie A teams, per Carlo Laudisa at La Gazzetta dello Sport.

  1. AtalantaGerman Denis; €1.2 million/£917,042
  2. CagliariDaniele Conti; €800,000/£611,361.
  3. CesenaGuido Marilungo; €400,000/£305,680.
  4. Chievo VeronaAlberto Paloschi; €700,000/£534,941.
  5. EmpoliFrancesco Tavano; €300,000/£229,260.
  6. GenoaAlessandro Matri; €1 million/£764,202.
  7. Hellas VeronaLuca Toni€1 million/£764,202.
  8. LazioMiroslav Klose; €2/£1.53 million.
  9. PalermoStefano Sorrentino; €900,000/£687,782.
  10. ParmaAntonio Cassano; €1.5/£1.15 million.
  11. SampdoriaSergio Romero; €1.7/£1.30 million.
  12. SassuoloDomenico Berardi; €1.1 million/£840,622.
  13. TorinoFabio Quagliarella; €750,000/£573,151.
  14. UdineseAntonio Di Natale; €1.3 million/£993,463.

Averaging 26.57 minutes per game in Serie A, Giovinco is in no position to negotiate an upgraded salary in Italy.

This opened the door for Giovinco to consider alternative career routes. 

Giovinco to Toronto FC is as starry-eyed as Ricardo Goulart, the best player in the Brazilian Brasileiro, rebuffing overtures from Europe to call China his second home.

Goulart joined Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande, backed by real estate billionaire Hui Ka Yan and e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma.

Like Goulart during talks with Guangzhou Evergrande, it is a case of Giovinco probably telling Toronto FC: "Show me the money." 

Toronto FC will pay Giovinco an estimated $8.39 million Canadian dollars per annum for four years, per John Molinaro at Sportsnet.

  • Giovinco's €2.2/£1.68 million a year at Juventus converts to around $3.04 million.
  • This means Giovinco receives a $5.35 million per year bumper pay-rise at Toronto FC.

In all walks of life, people tend to give you a pat on the back or a compliment when you tell them you are leaving your current workplace for a new job with higher pay.

Yet, this standard generally does not apply to professional sports, perhaps a clear example of tall poppy syndrome.

There is nothing wrong with Giovinco setting himself up financially by pre-planning for post-football life, understanding the trade-off is abandoning European football.

You know you would take the money.

Giovinco's Toronto FC salary would be the second-richest contract in Serie A, illustrating how he may have perceived the offer as once-in-a-lifetime.

Sebastian Giovinco's Toronto FC Salary vs. Serie A's Top Earners
FootballerEuros/Pounds Per YearCanadian Dollars Per Year
Daniele De Rossi (Roma)€6.50/£4.96M$8.99M
Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli)€5.50/£4.19M$7.61M
Mario Gomez (Fiorentina)€4.25/£3.24M$5.88M
Philippe Mexes (AC Milan)€4/£3.05M$5.53M
Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan)€3.50/£2.67M$4.84M
Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus)€2.20/£1.68M$3.04M
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)€6.06/£4.62M$8.39M
Credit: GianlucaDiMarzio.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sportsnet.

You need to be fair and avoid slinging mud at Giovinco for lacking determination.

During the 2011-12 season, Giovinco scored (15) and created (11), a combined 26 goals in Serie A for Parma. 

Instead of being to Parma what Di Natale was to UdineseGiovinco showed ambition by refusing to be pigeonholed as a big-fish in a small pond. 

"When Juventus contacted me, I told [them] that I wanted to stay [at Udinese]," Di Natale said, per FIFA.com. "There isn't too much pressure here. You can lose a few games and still be able to work in peace."

Unlike Di Natale, Giovinco embraced the win-or-bust mentality at Juventus, rather than stay in his comfort zone at Parma.

Giovinco took on the pressure of being labelled as Alessandro Del Piero's heir, a comparison made by Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, who knows first-hand of overcoming physical limitations, per Tuttosport (h/t Stefan Coerts at Goal).

Every game Giovinco played for Juventus, he accepted the unfair expectations of living up to Del Piero's historic standards.

A divisive figure, Giovinco continued to fight at Juventus, once having the unmitigated gall to chastise Del Piero.

"[Del Piero] never used to call me," Giovinco said, per Corriere dello Sport (h/t Salvatore Landolina at Goal). "He has never said anything to me. Was there tension between me and him? Maybe he never liked me."

Invariably, Giovinco's statistics and playing time declined as he attempted futilely to become a star at Juventus.

Sure, Giovinco was a disappointment at Juventus, but you need to acknowledge he persevered until he was made disposable. 

He was on an expiring contract and Juventus have committed to two young guns: Morata and Coman.

Sebastian Giovinco 2011-15
Serie AParma 2011-12Juventus 2012-15
Goals159
Goals Per Game0.420.16
Shots Per Goal9.4016
Shooting Accuracy %32.6238.35
Assists111
Key Passes Per Game2.51.15
Credit: WhoScored.com.

What makes Giovinco to Toronto FC such a monumental deal is his potential.

He is 27 years old, not 37 years old.

It is a step in the right direction as the MLS tries to remove the disparaging stigma of being a retirement league.

Giovinco still has three-four top years left in him, which is why the total package of his deal could make him the most expensive footballer in MLS history, per Kurtis Larson at the Toronto Sun.

Signing Giovinco as the follow-up to Jozy Altidore is a brilliant public relations move from Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, who has rebounded quickly from the bittersweet Jermain Defoe experiment.

Despite scoring 11 goals in 19 MLS games for Toronto FC, Defoe did not buy into the team, according to Bezbatchenko.

"There's a lot of travel, there are a lot of games and you've got to be up for it," Bezbatchenko said, per Ryan Wolstat at the Toronto Sun

"I think the entire project was something [Defoe] has to be willing to take on. I think he was initially, but I think he wasn't so much at the middle of the year and the end of the year."

Bezbatchenko is betting on Giovinco having a more positive mindset than Defoe's.

Should that occur, Giovinco will be to Toronto FC to what the late Giorgio Chinaglia was to the New York Cosmos.

 

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When not specified, statistics via WhoScored.com.