Toronto FC used Football Manager method to find Insigne and pay him £11m-a-year

Toronto FC stunned the footballing world earlier this month when they revealed that Italian winger Lorenzo Insigne had penned a pre-contract agreement with the club.

The Italian will join the Reds at the end of the season having spent the last 12 years playing for boyhood club Napoli, though has never won the Serie A title with the side.

Insigne was a key part of the Italy side that lifted the Euro 2020 title last summer, with his pace and energy causing defences an abundance of issues throughout the tournament.

The 30-year-old is set to become the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer history when he joins Toronto in the summer, earning £11m per year according to The Athletic, and will be looking to repay the faith of president Bill Manning with impressive performances all season long.

It was Manning who was central in the acquisition of Insigne, who realised the winger was available when embarking on a Football Manager-like scouting mission.

Manning was flicking through Transfermarkt, a website used by most football fans to see stats and player values, when he decided to see who was set to be out of contract at the end of the season.

He told The Toronto Sun: “I looked up the Italian national team on what players were coming out of contract.

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“Lorenzo Insigne was one of a few players that was coming out of contract and I started writing down players that I thought were world-class, that I thought would have commercial value in this market.

"I then presented to the MLSE board a five-year vision on what we need to do to reinvigorate our club. And Lorenzo Insigne was the first name on that list.”

The technique of finding players who could sign for your club without having to pay a transfer fee is a common one for video game users, who took to Twitter to reveal that they shared the same scouting methods as Manning.

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One said: “Toronto FC’s president claimed he wanted to sign Lorenzo Insigne when he looked on Transfermarkt for players whose contracts were expiring soon. The tried and tested Football manager method prevails.”

Whilst another joked: “If this is what it takes to be a decent club president, I reckon I'd do a good job. This is literally what I do for fun.”

It remains to be seen just how successful Insigne is in the MLS, and whether he will be one of many signings made by the Canada-based side using the video game-esque technique.

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