Six years ago, Sebastian Giovinco arrived in Toronto, from Juventus, at the age of 28 and re-defined success for Designated Players in MLS. Now, Insigne, who only six months ago featured regularly for EURO 2020 winners Italy and scored two goals in the tournament, is set to leave Napoli when his contract expires in June and move to Toronto at the age of 31.
Insigne has spent the entirety of his professional career at Napoli (aside from three loan spells before becoming a first-team regular). In nine and a half seasons as a first-teamer, Insigne has made 415 appearances and scored 114 goals for Napoli.
While Giovinco’s base salary was a modest $5.6 million per year, Toronto FC (led by new head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley) will reportedly smash that mark (as well as the all-time MLS record) with a $13-million annual base salary plus another $5 million in add-ons and bonuses.
Realistically speaking, no single player can return the full $13-million annual investment in on-field production alone. In a league where the vast majority of players — including some highly productive lesser-known stars — earn under $1 million per year, teams don’t have to pay out eight figures annually, no matter how poor they were the season before.
On the other hand, Insigne is only seven months removed from finishing a Serie A season with 19 goals and seven assists. The 5-foot-4 midfielder has been more of an assister (5) than goalscorer (4) for Napoli (3rd place in Serie A) this season, though his production remains strong in only slightly fewer minutes played.