SPORTS

Source: Toronto FC signing of Italian Sebastian Giovinco is imminent

01/17/2015 07:23 EST | Updated 03/19/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Toronto FC is set to announce another marquee signing.

And this one will be tasked with setting up newly acquired U.S. international Jozy Altidore and the rest of the Toronto strike force.

A source confirmed that the MLS club's signing of Juventus attacking midfielder Sebastian Giovinco is imminent.

A Toronto FC spokesman declined comment, however.

The five-foot-five, 130-pound Giovinco, known as the Atomic Ant, is an Italian international playmaker with the ability to take on defenders and score from set pieces.

He scored twice and won a penalty this week as Juventus thumped Verona 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Copa Italia.

The 27-year-old Giovinco, once touted as Alessandro Del Piero's heir, would not be available to Toronto until July 1 when his Juventus contract expires.

There reportedly has been no shortage of suitors for Giovinco with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Monaco and Tottenham among the clubs linked to him recently. Such competition means he does not come cheap. While there will be no transfer fee due to the expiring contract, his wages will be high.

Due for designated player status, the arrival of Giovinco means Toronto will be over the limit of three DPs when he arrives unless something happens in the interim.

Toronto's current crop of DPs consists of Altidore, U.S. international midfielder Michael Bradley and Brazilian forward Gilberto.

Gilberto would seem the odd man out unless the league rules change.

Toronto had to part with designated player Matias Laba prior to last season after signing Bradley, Jermain Defoe and Gilberto. The Argentine midfielder was loaned and then eventually sold to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Turin-born Giovinco made his way through the Juventus youth ranks, making his first-team in 2008. He spent time on loan with Empoli and Parma before rejoining Juventus.

He also rose through the Italian national team system, from the under-16 side to the senior team.

He references his size in a trademark scoring celebration which involves putting his thumb on top of his head and leaving his little finger pointing to the sky.

"I'm not very big and many people told me over the years that I would never reach the top because of my size," he told fifa.com in a 2009 interview. "That's why I do that celebration every time I score a nice goal. It's my way of saying that I'm getting bigger."

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

MORE:cpSports