A complete and utter bust emerged from what seemed to be great additions. Most MLS fans would consider them the biggest flops ever as they look for a return to Serie A.

The news that Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi would be continuing their careers with Toronto FC was quite shocking when they arrived. Of all, the club was no stranger to risking big, even with Sebastian Giovinco, their compatriot. However, something about the entrance of the duo seemed off.

After leading Italy to the Euros, Insigne became a legend at Napoli. Bernardeschi, a striker at the peak of his career, swapped Juventus with Major League Soccer.

It is difficult to put into words the sheer magnitude of the catastrophe that this has been after two years. Nothing short of a catastrophe is the best way to characterize what happened.

The problem lies in hefty contracts

The significance of Insigne to Napoli is difficult to put into words. His whole life was devoted to playing for the Partenopei, a club he joined in 2006.

He was a rock through thick and thin, earning him a spot in the club’s hall of fame with Diego Maradona and other greats. This made his arrival in MLS all the more remarkable since he was offered a record-breaking contract.

But following his recent middle finger to many Toronto supporters, Insigne made headlines for all the negative reasons. Even worse, he failed to live up to his astronomical contract and superstar reputation. He contributed only five goals and four assists in 21 appearances in the American top division in 2023.

Paid an estimated $14 million in his first season, surpassing Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s yearly wage and making him the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer ever. The veteran, though, has witnessed a significant reduction in his income this season.

Earlier this year, the MLS Players’ Union announced that Insigne earned a whopping $7.5 million that year. The services of Bernardeschi were also richly paid. Toronto FC pays the ex-Juve player about $6.25 million annually.

Because of players like Insigne and Bernardeschi, Toronto FC pays more than any other Major League Soccer club. This accounts for more than 12 clubs’ entire rosters. Unfortunately for TFC, spending money does not guarantee success—certainly not this season.

MLS duo set for Serie A reunion

Now, Italian media are reporting that the two are interested in making a move back to Serie A from Toronto FC. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the two Euro 2020 champions plan to make a January move back to Italy.

Bernardeschi and coach Massimiliano Allegri are quite amicable, and rumors have circulated that he may be joining Juventus. The Bianconeri, on the other hand, are hesitant to spend on a large salary until they sell a high-value player during the current transfer window. As a result, they have not yet made an offer.

On the other hand, if Gazzetta is to be believed, Insigne would be overjoyed to play for Napoli again. But a return to the Stadio Maradona is out of the question at the moment.

Walter Mazzarri would have a tough time managing the Napoli academy product. Meanwhile, the 32-year-old would have to settle for a supporting role for Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Several other Italian clubs, including Fiorentina and Lazio, have shown interest in the winger.