April 19, 2007 Toronto FC pursuing Polish Star (from Toronto Sun)
Thu, April 19, 2007
TFC pursuing Polish star
By DEAN McNULTY -- Sun Media
Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston confirmed to Sun Media yesterday he has been negotiating to bring World Cup soccer star Janek Bak -- captain of Poland's national side -- to the expansion Major League Soccer team.
Bak has been a mainstay in Poland's backfield and would fill a huge void in a TFC defence that has allowed six goals in its first two games.
Johnston, however, said that while he has made inquiries about Bak coming to Toronto, he isn't optimistic it will happen any time soon.
"We have put an offer to (Bak), but to say it will be accepted is unrealistic," Johnston said. "Right now, it involves too much money."
However, Johnston would not rule out another pitch to the Polish star at the end of the current season.
TFC could sign Bak -- even if it put them over the league salary cap -- because every team is allowed to sign one international star whose pay is not counted against the cap.
It would make sense for Johnston to bring in a player of Bak's stature to boost ticket sales for next year, especially if TFC fails to perform up to expectations this season.
Meanwhile, Johnston did announce yesterday that he has traded a second-round draft pick and allocation space to New York Red Bulls for American defender Marvel Wynne, the first overall pick in the 2006 draft.
"He is in Toronto right now going through immigration," Johnston said. "He will be with the team when we play Kansas City (next) Wednesday."
Johnston was part of the then Metro Stars management team that took Wynne No.1 in the MLS superdraft.
"This is a good deal for us and a good deal for New York," Johnston said.
The coach said he expects to add another defender as soon as today. That will bring three new faces -- TFC signed English striker Danny Dichio on Tuesday -- to the starting 11 by next week's home opener at BMO Field.
CREW RAISES PROFILE
MLS locked up another high-profile international when popular Argentine star Guillermo Barros Schelotto, 33, signed a two-year contract with the Columbus Crew.
Barros Schelotto scored 87 goals in 302 matches over nine years with Argentina club Boca Juniors.
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