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Toronto FC GM says striker Gilberto needs time to settle in North America

TORONTO - Toronto FC has had inquiries from other teams about Gilberto but wants to give the Brazilian striker adequate time to settle down with the MLS club.

General manager Tim Bezbatchenko, in a session Wednesday with beat reporters, said Gilberto has been unlucky with injuries in his debut campaign in Toronto. The Brazilian designated player, who is making US$1.2 million this season, had one goal in 11 appearances prior to Wednesday's game against Vancouver.

Bezbatchenko, however, said Gilberto has been impressive in practice. Plus history shows that South American players take time to adjust to MLS.

The GM said he has had interest in other TFC players as well — something he was not getting at the start of the season.

Bezbatchenko said talks continue with Queens Park Rangers about Julio Cesar but it seems unlikely the Brazilian No. 1 goalie will come back. The good news is that will open up more salary cap space in case Toronto, currently No. 1 in the allocation rankings, finds a player it wants.

And there was good news for fullback Mark Bloom, a starter making the modest salary of $48,825. Bezbatchenko said the 26-year-old is due a raise.

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