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Roma sells Bradley to MLS for $10 million

The SportsXchange

In a major coup for Major League Soccer, Michael Bradley is set to join Toronto FC.

Roma of Italy's Serie A announced Thursday that it sold the contract of the U.S. national team midfielder to MLS for $10 million. Multiple media reports indicated that Bradley will be assigned by MLS to Toronto, though neither the league nor the team immediately confirmed the news.

Bradley exits one of Europe's most famous clubs to join a team that finished with the third-worst record in MLS last season and never made the playoffs in seven seasons since its inception.

Word of Bradley's pending move to Toronto first broke Wednesday in a Twitter post from ESPN's Taylor Twellman.

"Bradley wanted to go and we cannot keep hold of a player who doesn't want to be here," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said Thursday said his team's 1-0 win over Sampdoria in a Coppa Italia match. "He has done very well for me over the last few months and I understand he wanted more playing time, but when there is a midfield like ours, it's hard to find spaces."

The desire for increased game action is especially important heading into a World Cup year. Bradley, 26, has a vital role as a playmaker for U.S. team, which faces tough group-stage matches against Germany, Portugal and Ghana this summer in Brazil.

According to Sports Illustrated, Bradley's contract runs another 2 1/2 years and pays him $1.09 million per year.

In 41 games for Roma, Bradley scored two goals. He previously played for the MetroStars in MLS, and he subsequently played for the Netherlands' Heerenveen, Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach, England's Aston Villa (on loan), and Italy's Chievo and Roma. He has 11 goals in 82 caps with the U.S. national team.

Toronto already added one star from Europe this week. Forward Jermain Defoe, arriving from Barclays Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, is expected to be introduced by Toronto FC next week.

The Toronto Star reported that the transfer fees and salaries for Defoe and Bradley would reach $100 million. Toronto FC also would have to unload its incumbent designated player, midfielder Matias Laba of Argentina.

Bradley is the second U.S. national team mainstay to abandon the prestige and superior playing level of Europe for the comforts of North America in recent months. Forward/midfielder Clint Dempsey left Tottenham to join the Seattle Sounders last summer. Dempsey is currently playing for Fulham in England on loan from Seattle.
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