Toronto FCís 2010 Most Valuable Player has left training camp and gone home.
Instead of travelling with the team as they shifted training camp from Orlando, Fla., to Charleston, S.C., defender Adrian Cann, unsatisfied with contract negotiations, has left the team and returned home to Toronto.
ďWe are disappointed that Adrian has decided to return home at this time,Ē Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter said. ďAdrian is heading into the second year of a four-year contract. We are currently in discussions with the league regarding the situation and are assessing the options available to us.Ē
The dialogue raises serious question whether Cann has played his last game for Toronto FC.
Although in a press release, Toronto FC did say Cann wants to continue to negotiate with the club.
Cann was not available for comment.
Word out of training camp in Orlando was Cannís exit came as a complete surprise.
Everything had been quiet, not even a rumour that the centre-back was going to leave.
Toronto FC refused further comment, with the players and staff travelling Tuesday.
Cannís departure leaves a massive hole in Toronto FCís central defence; one of the perceived stable positions in a fluctuating roster, full of question marks.
Making matters worse, Cannís defensive partner, Nana Attakora is also looking for a new contract.
With the team having been on the road for the better part of the past month, there has been little word as to how talks have progressed.
The 30-year-old Canadian international can be seen as a victim of his own success, to a certain degree.
After prolonged contract negotiations, Cann signed a four-year contract two games into last season.
Cann proved his worth in 2010, having a solid season as a stable influence at the back for a side with a history of defensive issues.
For his efforts, TFC team management named Cann 2010 team MVP.
The decision to name Cann MVP was a talking point at the time, as Dwayne De Rosario was the consensus most valuable player among astute observers.
The decision by management was seen by many as a punishment to De Rosario for making his stalled contract negotiations public with his ďsign the checkĒ goal celebration last fall.
Itís now ironic, and almost comical the teamís named ďMVPĒ is the one taking drastic measures to get pen put to paper, while De Rosario looks closer to contractual harmony.
Cann made $65,342 last season and the case can be made he deserves a bump in salary.
Cann told Sun Media at the start of training camp he wasnít sure what was going to happen contractually, but didnít seem overly optimistic.
Leaving camp two and a half weeks before the start of the season is a perceived sign of desperation on Cannís part.
Cann has a contract and itís up to Winter to determine the defenderís value.
Winterís priority is to manage the books, avoiding the pitfalls of signing players to contracts worth far more than they produce, like how the previous regime crippled the franchise before.
Where and if Cann fits into Winterís plans solely depends on price at this point.
And if Cannís decisive action to leave the team is any indication, Winter is committed to moving on without the player.