On Thursday evening's Soccer Show and again on Friday morning on TSN 1050 Kevin Payne has been a guest to talk about the state of Toronto FC. Both segments included a lot of the familiar stuff that Payne has been feeding to the media in recent weeks from claiming that AS Roma tickets are selling quite well and could end up in a sellout to talking about how Toronto FC are just a few wins away from being in the playoff conversation.
The only real thing worth taking from the interviews is the talk about potential transfer targets. As expected Payne was not able to name any names but he reiterated that the club is hoping to bring in as many as 5 new players. To make that happen it is likely that Luis Silva will not be the only player shipped out to make room.
Payne laid out what sort of players that the club is looking to add during this summer window. He claimed the club are looking to add two forwards (one experienced) from South America, a wide player on loan from South America, and an outside defender from within the North American system.
The loan player from South America is the easiest one to speculate about due to the fact that in the past Payne has offered more information on the matter. In late June, Payne mentioned to the Toronto Sun's Kurt Larson that part of the deal for Laba would allow the club to bring another player from Argentinos Juniors on a free loan which could run for a full year. We wrote this about it at the time:
Payne stated that the club are in a position to bring in a player from Argentinos Juniors either this summer or in January. Apparently when the club negotiated the deal for Laba they managed to include the ability to bring in future players and now have their choice of several players who could join on a free loan. One or more of the potential players must be a winger as Payne again referred to how Rey works out impacting their plans going forward with that deal.
Argentinos Juniors just avoided relegation this past season but in spite of their struggles they still have a number of young players who would make interesting additions to TFC's squad even if they were only to come in on loan initially. Just looking over their midfield they had 8 players 26 years old or younger making appearances for them in the league this season including having a 19 and 20 year old make over 20 appearances each. Despite having very little knowledge of their roster there seems to be the potential to find a number of players who could provide a similar contribution to what Laba has brought since joining TFC.
Narrowing it down from there is tricky though since as the initial article noted Argentinos have a lot of young midfielders who could potentially fit the bill. I won't claim to be any sort of expert on the roster at Argentinos Juniors but Fabio Vazquez, Gomez Rodrigo, Santiago Naguel, Juan Edgardo Ramirez, and Reinaldo Lenis are all 20-years-old or younger and can play on the wing so there are plenty of potential options.
The list can be narrowed down a bit thanks to a report from Passion Parental on twitter:
#AAAJ El equipo de Matias Laba, Toronto FC, tiene en su radar a 3 jugadores del Bicho... Santiago Naguel, Juan Ramirez y Leandro Barrera...— Diego (@diegomartinsaa) July 11, 2013
#AAAJ Gente del Toronto le pidieron a Laba referencias por ellos. Para llevarlo a prestamo a Canada...— Diego (@diegomartinsaa) July 11, 2013
Santiago Naguel is a 20-year-old right midfielder, Juan Ramirez a 20-year-old left midfielder, and Leandro Barrera is a 22-year-old forward who is also capable of playing on the left side of the midfield. All three would fit just what Payne was describing.
As for the two forwards it would be easy to slot the names of Maximiliano Urruti and Diego Forlan in but it is possible that Toronto FC is targeting other players despite the fact that both players fit the descriptions perfectly. Payne also mentioned the fact that they have been tracking one of the players since January which would again fit with what we know about Urruti. The pieces seem to fit despite Payne not mentioning anyone by name but signing either of those players will not be easy as TFC are not the only club with interest in their services.
The last type of player that Payne mentioned was a new one but a move that makes sense. With Ashtone Morgan seemingly stuck to the bench the team could use some more depth at fullback. Ryan Richter was a nice cheap addition but having him start every match while Richard Eckersley was out injured was far from ideal. It is also not ideal to have Darren O'Dea at left back so adding some cover on at least one side would be helpful now that the centre of the defence have been shored up by the addition of Steven Caldwell.
At this stage no names that fit that description have been linked to TFC but considering this is likely to be the smallest move of the bunch just to add depth it is unlikely to attract the kind of interest that the other moves might.
So out of Payne saying very little in two radio spots it is possible to speculate on who Toronto FC might be bringing in this summer. It all remains speculation at this point but with Luis Silva traded and Danny Califf retired the space is now there for the club to start brining in new players. Considering how impatient fans seem to be for some good news the club will hopefully have some sooner rather than later.