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Dec 13, 2013

Toronto FC signs striker Gilberto

Toronto FC signed Brazilian striker Gilberto as a designated player on Friday.

Gilberto, 24, was the sixth-leading scorer in the Brazilian top flight this season with 14 goals in 24 appearances while on loan with Portuguesa.

Gilberto attended a Toronto Raptors game Tuesday before signing with Toronto FC on Friday. 

He signed with Internacional in 2011. The Toronto Star reported his move to Major League Soccer is worth more than $4.7 million U.S., between the transfer fee and Gilberto's new contract.

Gilberto accompanied Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum to both a Toronto Raptors basketball game and Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game this week, according to the Star.

"I'm coming to a very good side," he told the Star via a translator. "I also appreciate the quality of life here. And I want to open a new market in Major League Soccer for Brazilians. The primary job is to win titles."

Gilberto is the second DP currently on Toronto's roster, joining Argentine midfielder Matias Laba.

Gilberto will join Bright Dike, acquired in a September trade with Portland, up front for Toronto FC. Earlier this week, the Canadian club added Jackson, another Brazilian, in a trade with FC Dallas. Toronto also traded winger Bobby Convey to the New York Red Bulls earlier Friday.

But Toronto FC, which has failed to make the MLS playoffs in its seven seasons, may not be done shopping yet. Toronto has been linked to Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe, and could still make a play for him when the European transfer window opens in January.

"I've heard links with Toronto and West Ham and as we get close to the transfer window you are going to get speculation," Defoe told the Telegraph this week. "It's out of your hands, sometimes you end up leaving a club where you want to stay and sometimes you get in the team of a club you think you are leaving, you end up playing well and stay.

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