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Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Toronto FC - Instagram
The 30-year-old forward has already penned a pre-contract agreement with the Reds and will join on a four-year deal worth a reported $12 million per season in wages, according to reports.
A deal to sign Insigne will go down as a huge coup for the Canada-based outfit. Last summer, he helped Roberto Mancini's Italy lift a historic European Championship after they beat England in the final.
In fact, shortly after his efforts at the tournament, the diminutive forward's impressive statistics were spotted by Toronto FC president Bill Manning when he decided to browse through the Transfermarkt website.
In case you don't already know, Transfermarkt displays a wide range of information about football, including results, transfer news and player values.
The club president was said to be 'down-in-the-dumps' over performances throughout the 2021 MLS season, so he decided something had to be done to turn the team’s fortunes around.
In a moment of utter genius, he searched for players who were coming to the end of their contract on the Transfermarkt website - a trademark method used on Football Manager games.
The rest, as they say, is history.
“I looked up the Italian national team on what players were coming out of contract,” Manning said via The Toronto Sun.
“And Lorenzo Insigne was one of a few players that was coming out of contract. And I started writing down players that I thought were world class, that I thought would have commercial value in this market.
"I then presented to the MLSE board a five-year vision on what we need to do to reinvigorate our club. And Lorenzo Insigne was the first name on that list.”
This is straight out of Football Manager 🤣 https://t.co/ig5fijCa9J— Out of Context Football Manager (@nocontextfm1) January 11, 2022
😂 Toronto FC's president claimed he wanted to sign Lorenzo Insigne when he looked on Transfermarkt for players whose contracts were expiring soon.— That's Football! (@ThatsFootballTV) January 11, 2022
The tried and tested Football Manager method prevails!
Manning got in touch with Italian agent Andrea D’Amico and former MLS V-P of player relations Lino DiCuollo about whether there would be interest from Insigne about signing for the club.
“And things just started snowballing from there,” Manning added.
“When (D’Amico) made his first phone call with (Insigne’s agent) Vincenzo (Pisacane), Andrea called me back and said: ‘Bill, it’s destiny, we’re going to make this happen.’ And that was back in September.”
Insigne agreed to sign for the MLS side on New Year’s Eve and details were soon ironed out to bring the striker to Canada.
"This is a player in the prime of his career who just came off wining the European Championship... and has continued this year to play at a very high level," said Manning.
"We've had a lot of famous players and amazing players come into this league but a player with his credentials and of his calibre in the prime of his career I'm not sure we've seen yet."
Thoughts on Toronto FC's latest signing? Have you ever used Transfermarkt to find a gem on Football Manager?
Let us know in the comments.