Welcome to Toronto FC, Maxi Urruti!
The Argentine striker had been training with the club for the last few days as rumours become reality and a deal looked imminent, with one final legal speed bump over ownership percentages keeping the deal from being completed. That issue looks like it has been resolved, and Toronto FC finally get their man.
So, Maxi Urruti is a Toronto FC player at last, the number 37 painted on the back of his shirt and a smile painted on his face. He shared a hug with fellow Argentine Matias Laba, and while Toronto FC’s Spanish-speaking contingent share the challenges of adapting to life in Toronto FC, they also share another challenge – the pressures of performance.
Urruti, 22, is going to be under a lot of pressure to perform. Like Laba, he won’t coast by on his pedigree, rather, with his play. Laba’s challenge was to perform better than the two central midfielders before him, Torsten Frings and Julian de Guzman, and in that regard, he has done well. However, Urruti will be faced with the task of becoming a goalscoring forward right from the get go. His period of adjustment will be much more narrow than that of his compatriot for the simple reason that Toronto FC are desperate for a forward who can score goals.
Robert Earnshaw has just returned from injury, Andrew Wiedeman and Justin Braun have filled in well enough, and Jeremy Brockie did what he could before heading back to the A-League, leaving Toronto FC short of options up top. Urruti, the first major offensive signing of the offseason, will need to perform immediately, or, at the very least, show a level of quality that makes it clear his long pursuit and million-dollar price tag was worth it.
Toronto FC didn’t make clear if Urruti was a Designated Player or not, but with MLS getting involved with the signing directly, it seems like any clear message about his contract status will need to be pieced together. The announcement made it clear he'll be added to the roster as soon as his international transfer clearance comes through, so he's clearly been allowed to skirt the transfer window, thus presumably is being brought in as a free agent. It’s possible Urruti is making DP-level money but the club has paid down his contract using allocation money. Danny Koevermans stated he would be departing the club at the end of the season so Urruti may become a DP next year, or he’ll remain a normal, under-the-cap player, but most likely an expensive one. In any case, the details of his signing come second to how he performs.
He’ll be partnering Earnshaw up top, with a combination of Jonathan Osorio, Alvaro Rey, Laba, Bobby Convey and Jeremy Hall behind him. Club president Kevin Payne promised two signings last week, and with Urruti putting pen to paper at last, another major player may be on his way, too. How Urruti adapts to MLS is yet to be seen but if he can contribute right away, Toronto FC can turn focus on strengthening other positions on the field.
It’s been a season of changes at Toronto FC – Urruti may just be the biggest change of the season. No pressure, kid!