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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
GALAXY: Interest in Luca Toni?

By Scott French

The Galaxy is among the clubs lining up for Italian striker Luca Toni, according to a report in Italian sports daily newspaper il Corriere dello Sport.


Toni, 33, who scored two goals in Italy's run to the 2006 World Cup title, plays for Genoa in Serie A, but his manager, Tulio Tinti, is seeking a deal with AC Milan. If that falls through, Tinti told the newspaper, there is interest from London-based Fulham and Tottenham, from Spartak Moscow and from the Galaxy.

Talent-wise, Toni would be an upgrade on Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel, with whom the Galaxy is in negotiations, but Angel is a proven goalscorer in Major League Soccer, and Toni's success in this league -- if it comes to that -- largely would depend on his attitude and desire to assimilate. He would surely be a Designated Player (highly paid, with most of his salary not counting against the salary cap), of which the Galaxy are allowed three. Landon Donovan and David Beckham are DPs, and Angel likely will be one if he signs.

The Galaxy, of course, will have nothing to say about Toni, and it's possible Toni's agent is merely using L.A.'s name in a bid to boost his client's price. Such is the residue of the Beckham Effect.

The forward was a late bloomer internationally, not making his first appearance for Italy until 2004, at 27. He's made 47 appearances for the Azzurri, scoring 16 goals, two of them in the quarterfinal victory over Ukraine at the 2006 World Cup. He had a disappointing tournament at the 2008 European Championship and was not on Italy's roster for last summer's World Cup in South Africa.

Toni has played for Bayern Munich and in Italy for Vicenza, Brescia, Palermo, Fiorentina, AS Roma, Genoa and several lower-division sides. He made only 17 appearances (all competitions) last season at Roma, scoring just five goals, and has six goals in 12 games, Serie A and Coppa Italia, this season for Genoa.