Darren D'DeaBefore I write anything about the signing of Irish International Darren D’Dea Friday by Toronto FC or for that matter the deal that fell through last week for Swedish International Olaf Mellberg I think there is one player, and how he ended up leaving Toronto, that needs to be discussed to perhaps put this centre back saga signing into some sort of context. And that player is none other than former TFC midfielder Julian de Guzman. In fact you could argue that the fact that Mellberg is not a TFC player and D’Dea now is one are all due to that (in)famous deal that Mo Johnston signed JdG to in 2009.

In retrospect the reason why TFC was saying one thing about the possible Mellberg deal and MLS was saying something else last week was due to the fact that the 3rd DP spot that Toronto would have needed to sign Mellberg to the kind of contract he was looking for to play here was probably technically available but not actually available…all at the same time.

What I mean by that enigmatic remark is that when TFC decided to part ways with Julian de Guzman his Designated Player slot did technically become available. But it probably became clear that to get Mellberg there would have had to have been some “creative” accounting required to make it happen and there was probably not enough cap and/or allocation dollars left for the team to give Mellberg the kind of deal that he felt he needed to come here, or the League felt that the deal was not in everyon’e best interest… or some combination of both.

You see if anyone believes that FC Dallas is paying more than a small share of Julian de Guzman’s salary for the rest of the season then I have some Florida swampland I can sell them for a really sweet price. It should be plain as day that Toronto dumped him to the first team willing to give them more than a bag of soccer balls back in return and his DP wages plus likely a chunk of his wages that count against the salary cap are still on TFC’s ledger.

If you consider Hassli a direct replacement for Koevermans as a DP for another DP then Mellberg would have been the DP replacement for JdG.

Water under the bridge folks. Mellberg is not coming. TFC has gone in another direction with the signing Friday of Irishman Darren O’Dea.


Darren O’Dea

Olaf Mellberg

Premiership Experience



International Experience



Captained Big Clubs



Designated Player?







Now I whipped up the clart above not to try and state that O’Dea is anywhere near Mellberg today in ability… but to show that he is cheaper, younger and has to a certain degree much of the same kind of experience that Mellberg brings (albeit in less quantity than Mellberg has of course). If this signing works out as it could (and aren’t TFC in need of a bit of good luck for once with one of these??) Toronto might at last have a young left footed experienced defender with which to build around for the next number of seasons. Mellberg might turn out to be a bearded Maldini and and play for another decade elsewhere but I would place my money on O’Dea having a longer career going forward barring anything unforeseen  than Mellberg will. And captaining a big club like Celtic I think speaks to the quality of the character that the Reds are bringing in here.

I also like the fact that D’Dea is not a DP and if you assume that the Reds’s can’t entertain that possibility until next season (getting a third DP back once again) then this might turn out to be a better long term proposition for the club then it would be to bring in yet another older player with a limited amount of footy still in him. Now four of the best centre backs in this league  in my estimation are Chad Marshall, Jay Demerit, Omar Gonzales and perhaps Jamison Olave. None of them are Designated Players. All of them are the bedrocks that their respective clubs build around and all of them should be with their respective clubs for a good while yet.

Can Darren O’Dea turn out to finally be part of the answer at centre back for this team? Can he be the teacher/leader/mentor that the likes of Ashtone Morgan & Donell Henry are going to need? Will he resolve the bigest on field problem this team has had since day one?


What is beyond a doubt to me is this. When he suits up for our Reds Darren O’Dea will be without a doubt the most talented player ever to have played to date for Toronto FC in the centre back position.

But today TFC fans it might be a good idea to look at this Mellberg/O’Dea saga in this way instead. What would you rather have, an experienced centre back on a DP wage who might give you two-three years of service before he leaves/retires or a young (but relatively experienced for his age) option that is cheaper and might ending up being the bedrock that the club can build around for the next five years or more?

Hope springs eternal in the beautiful game does it not???


  1. Swedish players are pish

    Fuck Mjellberg, he was shit at Villa and shit for Sweden and to pay that kind of money for a player who has reached the age that the average person in Sierra Leone dies at is stupid. Fuck, if TFC is going to become a club for the retired we might as well see if Peter Shilton can play in goal and if Johann Cruyff would like to make a come back in attack. In fact, never take any player who has been tainted by playing at a club of perennial losers like Villa.

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