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Jan 9, 2014

Bradley completes transfer to Toronto

AS Roma says it has completed the transfer of midfielder Michael Bradley to MLS club Toronto FC.

Roma says on its website the transfer cost Toronto $10 million (7.35 million euros) for the 26-year-old American international to return to MLS after eight years away.

The news marks the second major transfer of a U.S. international into the MLS in a six-month period, with Clint Dempsey joining the Seattle Sounders last August.

Earlier Thursday, Alberto Facinni, an Italian agent, told Radio Radio in Italy the transfer deal was done.

"For Michael this was a tough step to take, but the choice was dictated by some market movements," Faccini said. "Without waiting for Jan. 31, he chose to follow this path also to help the growth of [North] American soccer."

Bradley has struggled to break into the starting lineup with Roma this season, appearing in 11 of their 18 league games, with just five of them as a starter. With the Serie A side recently acquiring Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan on loan from Cagliari with an option to buy, Bradley was looking at being the fifth option in manager Rudi Garcia's three-man midfield.

Much like Dempsey, Bradley likely found it impossible to turn down such a lucrative offer. But the move still comes as a surprise given his professed desire to play in the Champions League, something Roma are in a prime position to accomplish given that they currently sit second in Serie A, eight points behind leaders Juventus.

The move almost certainly will not sit well with U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who has long encouraged his players to test themselves at the highest level possible. The MLS, despite its increasing profile, does not provide the same level of play as the top European leagues, and it seems likely that Bradley could have secured a loan move to another European club. Instead, he has opted for the security -- both in terms of playing time and finances -- of the MLS.

The MLS can now claim to have the top three U.S. players -- Bradley, Dempsey, and Landon Donovan -- all playing in North America.

ESPNFC's Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.

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