TORONTO - Toronto FC Captain Dwayne De Rosario’s stay with Celtic wasn’t cut short due to lack of interest from the Scottish Premier League leaders, QMI Agency has learned.
It was Toronto FC holding up the stop sign.
Multiple sources confirmed to Sun Media Thursday night Toronto FC at the last minute elected against loaning De Rosario to Celtic. Contrary to reports coming out of Scotland, Celtic were in fact interested in bringing De Rosario to the club on a short-term loan deal until the start of the new Major League Soccer season.
"Celtic inquired about the possibility of extending Dwayne's time with them,” said Toronto FC head coach and technical director Aron Winter. “My preference is for Dwayne to start the season with Toronto FC right from training camp. We are making a fresh start and need a strong competitive camp. Dwayne is the captain and leader and needs to be part of building a new winning culture."
De Rosario had been training with the Glasgow-based club for three weeks, with his trial being extended in hopes a deal could be completed. Celtic has come to a congested part of their schedule and with many question marks up front, De Rosario was seen as a short-term solution.
A short-term loan was all De Rosario and Celtic were ever looking for from the get-go. Loan deals as such have become rather commonplace in MLS. LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan’s success at Everton stood as a prime example of how elite MLS players can be effective in just a short period on loan at European clubs.
De Rosario was well within his right to pursue a similar loan. But instead of advancing with the short-term loan in a cordial manner, the process became a public relations nightmare with Toronto FC’s refusal to acknowledge they gave permission to their leading scorer to go on trial at Celtic in the first-place. Any potential fires could have been put out from the start if it was publicly acknowledged they were allowing DeRo to go.
Contrary to reports on MLS and team websites, a person of prominence at TFC did give De Rosario permission. TFC’s failure to acknowledge as such made De Rosario out to be a rogue player, turning his back on the club in pursuit of his own interests. This is entirely not true. And for the past three weeks, the local press has killed De Rosario. De Rosario being made out as a rogue player not only does the player a disservice, but Celtic as well.
Despite interest in the player, Celtic was put in a precarious position by TFC, portrayed as a club acting without proper authorization. Celtic had nothing to gain from getting into a public spat with the MLS club. A he said, he said argument does nothing to advance the interests of Celtic. But because of the lack of clarity on Toronto’s end, the exercise has been one of embarrassment for Celtic – one of the great clubs in European soccer history. Celtic was forced to stay tight-lipped on the issue, thus all the rumour-mongering and speculative narrative on this side of the Atlantic.
Celtic cannot be happy how this ordeal turned out; not only because they didn’t get the player but also were dragged into a messy situation in the loan/transfer market where club integrity and perception is worth its weight in gold.
As for De Rosario, it will be kiss and make up time when the forward returns to training camp. TFC has let their Captain’s named be dragged through the mud by media members, many of whom have never laid a foot at BMO Field, and bloggers, who never bothered to speak to the player himself to understand both sides of the story.
De Rosario is not only Toronto FC’s best player, but also the team’s inspirational leader. And for a hometown player, who just so happens to be one of the best players in MLS history, who has done everything and more he’s been asked for by the dysfunctional club, to have his name and reputation dragged through the mud is an embarrassment.
Can the fences be mended? Possibly. De Rosario is a team first guy and loves the city of Toronto. He came to the city to finish his career here and help take the club to new heights in the first place. But a part of him has to feel betrayed. It wouldn’t surprise this observer if De Rosario were dealt before the start of the season. Toronto FC is starting fresh. Perhaps its time for DeRo to rid himself of the circus and get back to doing what he does best: winning soccer games.
As for Winter and TFC’s position, you can hardly blame the team for not allowing the loan deal. TFC’s roster is desperately thin, and De Rosario provides substance to a group of players with very little. Winter acted in the best interest of the club – short term.
But the long-term ramifications of the mess of a process, then not allowing the loan to proceed could wind up costing TFC their best player. Winter at Ajax became known as a hard-nosed coach – working with so many young players requires as much. Unfortunately for Winter, he’ll soon realize he’s not only dealing with the task ahead, but also the demons of the past.
De Rosario is one of the bright carry-over baggage he’s got. But the question is, for how much longer?