Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Says Reported China Interest in Giovinco Has Not Produced Concrete Offer

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Says Reported China Interest in Giovinco Has Not Produced Concrete Offer

Article excerpt

Toronto FC: No offer from China on Giovinco

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Toronto FC says there has been no formal transfer bid for Sebastian Giovinco, reiterating it has no interest in selling its star Italian striker.

Giovinco's agent made headlines recently in citing "an important offer" from the deep-pocketed Chinese Super League. But that has not yet translated into anything concrete.

While MLS and Chinese Super League teams have until the end of February to transfer players, Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko made it clear he is not looking to sell the Atomic Ant.

"We're a club that wants to be contending for championships each year," Bezbatchenko told a media conference call Wednesday. "It's not about money or about buying low, selling high. We want to partake in the import and export of players, for sure, but we're not a selling club. We want to be at the top of MLS in every category.

"Obviously Seba is one of the best players, if not the best in MLS, so we're not looking to sell him or put a price-tag on him."

Bezbatchenko said he had talked to Giovinco about the recent spending spree in China as its league looks to up its profile by signing marquee names. Shanghai Shenhua, for example, is paying Argentine striker Carlos Tevez US$40 million over two years, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

"We joked around about Tevez and about (Brazilian midfielder) Oscar and these fees and how crazy they were," said Bezbatchenko. "We just talked about how that's a lot of money and how the game is changing around the world because of what's happening in China."

Chelsea reportedly sold Oscar to Shanghai SIPG for 60 million euros (US$64.6 million).

Other prominent players headed to China include Brazilians Hulk, Ramires, Paulinho and Alexandre Pato as well as Colombia's Jackson Martinez and Argentina's Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Bezbatchenko said the effects of the Chinese spending spree will be limited by the restrictions on the number of imports in the league.

Giovinco is doing all right for himself in this hemisphere. The 30-year-old made US$7.115 million last season, second only in MLS to Orlando's Kaka (US$7. …

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