O'Dea linked with Ukraine move
DARREN O'Dea is on his way out of Toronto and may move across the world to play his club football in Ukraine after a bizarre weekend when his salary in Canada was described as "ridiculous" by manager Ryan Nelsen.
The Ireland international joined Toronto last year and appeared to have settled in Canada, having been appointed as club captain.
However he missed their trip to Sporting City Kansas on Saturday and it was announced beforehand that he was back in Canada finalising a transfer away from the club. Nelsen, the ex-Blackburn and QPR defender, said that the defender was speaking to a team in the Ukraine.
He added that O'Dea's wage made it easier to sanction the switch. The Dubliner is paid an annual salary of $456,250, which converts to approximately €350,000.
O'Dea is not a designated player – marquee names such as Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry earn almost 10 times as much – so his entire wage counts towards the MLS salary cap.
"Darren's the most expensive player in the whole of the league in terms of salary cap," said Nelsen.
"Darren wanted to go, it's a good opportunity for him. It's not his fault he has the contract but it's a contract that is pretty ridiculous in terms of MLS. That (his departure) gives us some relief."
O'Dea (right) responded on Twitter by denying Nelson's suggestion that he wanted to leave. "For every1 (sic) asking, I'm discussing terms with another team. Not what I want! Not got a choice!!" he said.
The 26-year-old is popular with Toronto supporters and has largely the escaped the blame for their poor form, with the Canadians languishing near the bottom of their division with a record of just two wins from 17 games.
The former Celtic player, who has acted as a makeshift left-back in recent weeks, has spoken on numerous occasions about the quality of life in Canada and revealed when he joined the club that he had rejected lucrative offers from Ukraine and Russia to accept the deal. Ukrainian side Tavriya were one confirmed suitor.
"Believe me, I could have earned three times that in other places," he said at the time. "I think that was the big point in my career that I thought, 'Do I want to be a footballer or do I want to be rich?'
"I nearly went out to the Ukraine, but it was purely to do with money. I've always sworn I wouldn't do it, and I didn't in the end."