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Rumor: Toronto FC chasing Roma's Daniele De Rossi and Juventus' Andrea Barzagli

More big names to TFC? Maybe.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Fresh on the heels of the report that Toronto FC turned down Barcelona's effort to lure Sebastian Giovinco away from Canada, an exclusive report from Calciomercato.it that the MLS club is hoping to double down on its nascent galacticos transfer policy. Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore might not be the sort of players who would get Real Madrid's attention, but they are about as big a set of names as can be found in one squad in MLS.

The latest rumor suggests TFC may seek to refresh the squad with "2-3 world class players" (says asromalive.it). On the list, reports Calciomercato.it: Roma's Daniele De Rossi and Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli. Former Parma defender Fabio Santacroce is also mentioned.

Of the three, Santacroce might be the most realistic target: he is the youngest of the named trio of alleged Toronto transfer targets (29), fits a position of need (TFC's defense could use a little help), and is currently a free agent. Barzagli is also a defender, but he turns 35 next May and even the original rumor-monger, Calciomercato, concedes TFC has "some reservations" about the veteran. Still, he is a former teammate of Giovinco, and out of contract this summer.

De Rossi is a more difficult case to evaluate. One of the few things about him as well documented as his love and commitment to hometown club Roma is his admiration for America. De Rossi loves to talk about America. It will be no great surprise if he moves to the USA one day. He is 32 and his Roma contract expires in the summer of 2017, when he will be 34: younger than recent MLS arrivals Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, and Didier Drogba.

Might he be persuaded to leave Roma before that contract expires? Unlikely one would think: he is playing regularly and his team is in the early stages of what looks like it could be a challenge for this season's Serie A title. Maybe he bows out on a high; more likely he sees out a very well compensated contract. And then? Well, maybe then he makes his long discussed move to North America.

But SportMediaset advises Toronto is "ready to coat it with gold" to land De Rossi. And the rumor mill suggests NYCFC is also interested in adding the veteran to its collection of legendary Italian midfielders. Perhaps De Rossi can be landed in North America before 2017.

An active winter season for the MLS rumor mill is already underway.