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De Rosario to Celtic… To be or not to be?

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Dwayne De Rosario
Celtic manager Neil Lennon was quoted in The Telegraph today, confirming that Toronto FC’s all-time leading scorer, Dwayne De Rosario, could be in Glasgow for a trial — and might sign with the Hoops in time for the next Old Firm derby against Rangers.

De Rosario, TFC’s leading scorer in 2010, could join former Arsenal star and MLS Designated Player Freddie Ljungberg, who is already in Glasgow.

“I’m not saying this is a done deal,” Lennon was quoted. “But it might just be a little bonus for us along the way without it costing us the Earth.”

BBC reported that Lennon would first look at video of De Rosario before inviting the Scarborough native to Scotland “after being made aware of his availability.”

Of course, this flies in the face of Toronto FC’s denials. Today, acting GM Earl Cochrane was quoted on the team’s own website that “Dwayne is not going on trial with Celtic or any other club. We have not received word from anyone and expect him to be with TFC when training camp opens next month.”

But, interestingly, De Rosario wasn’t available for comment — for a story to appear on the team’s own website.

MLS, in the end, holds the hammer on this. De Rosario is only two years into a four year contract — and he’s repeatedly stated his displeasure of not being paid DP money. He showed his displeasure late in the season; after scoring in a loss to San Jose, he celebrated by pantomiming the signing of a paycheque, a reminder to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment that promises of a payday were made to him when he went from Houston to his hometown. But, despite those protestations, MLS makes the call whether players stay or go. Contracts are still signed centrally. Remember that New England midfield linchpin Shalrie Joseph was blocked from making a move to Celtic.

Toronto FC then sent De Rosario a strong message when the club named Adrian Cann its 2010 MVP rather than the team’s runaway leading scorer. It was hard for De Rosario’s camp to take that as anything other than a politically motivated decision, even though De Ro publicly said all the right things about Cann taking the award.

And, to sour Remember that Celtic have played friendlies in Toronto in each of the last two summers, so it’s not like the club isn’t familiar with the Reds. In fact, in 2009, when Celtic sent what was basically a reserve squad to face a Benfica reserve team in a friendly sponsored by the Canadian National Exhibition, Celtic trained at BMO Field just minutes after TFC left the turf.

Now, Lennon wasn’t Celtic’s manager at that time. But he was in charge when Celtic was in Toronto to face Manchester United in 2010.

Right now, it’s a lot of he said-he said; but this is what we know. Celtic has stated that De Rosario’s reps have let the club know he’s available; but, at the same time, he’s in the middle of a four-year deal to MLS.

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