Toronto FC continue to look for ways to round out their roster. Despite the team's strong start to the new season management are not just sitting back and hoping it continues to go well but instead have been looking at potential additions.
New Zealand international Tim Payne is on trial with Toronto FC. The 20-year-old midfielder is currently on the books at Blackburn.— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) April 5, 2014
The most recent player that TFC are taking a closer look at is Tim Payne. Payne is currently under contract with Blackburn Rovers but the 20-year-old New Zealander has failed to break through since signing for the club in January 2012.
Payne, an attacking midfielder or forward, has already represented New Zealand at every level including making 10 appearances for the senior team in which he has found the back of the net on two occasions. Payne also got the chance to represent New Zealand in the Olympic competition back in 2012. He was one of the top players at the U-17 World Cup back in 2011 which set up his move to Rovers but since then he has not really been able to take the next step in his club career.
Payne should have one season remaining on the contract that he signed upon moving to Rovers but he could move to Toronto on loan should he impress. The young player will certainly be looking to get playing time somewhere to avoid seeing his career stagnate.
He will be familiar to at least one person at Toronto FC as Ryan Nelsen was just wrapping up his time at Blackburn and with the All Whites when Payne was making his way to both teams. The overlap between the pair was short but it should be enough to provide Nelsen with a bit of insight in to what the 20-year-old has to offer.
Should Payne impress on trial he could provide some more depth on the wings as well as potential cover at forward during the busy months ahead for the club. His age also makes him an interesting potential addition should he be able to rediscover the potential that he showed back on 2011.
Looking at Payne does not seem to be the only thing Toronto FC are doing right now. The club seem to be actively looking at a number of additions that could strengthen the roster during the upcoming months. The big name that has been floating around is a potential loan move for Brek Shea.
When Kurt Larson of the Toronto Sun asked Tim Bezbatchenko about the Stoke winger this was the reply that he got: "Yeah, 100% (we'd be interested)," Bezbatchenko told me. "I mean, Brek Shea is a dynamic U.S. international. I think you'd take any of these guys seriously."
Not a reply that you can really read all the much in to but it was certainly more than a flat out denial which makes it seem as if TFC are at least keeping the door open for such a move. The reports that the question was based on suggest that Shea could be loaned out by Stoke once again and this time they could send the 24-year-old winger back to MLS for the remainder of the season.
Since leaving MLS, Shea has failed to make a real impact in England with even his loan spell to Barnsley earlier this year ending in controversy as he was sent back to Stoke following his involvement in an incident with a fan. A return to MLS may be just what the doctor ordered for Shea to get things back on track.
One thing is clear from these reports, Toronto FC are not sitting on their hands. They have the top spot in the allocation order and are working on ways to put it to use, they are bringing in potential depth additions on trial, and they are looking in to other moves that could be made during the summer months.
There is little pressure for the team do anything major as long as things are going well but even if the depth stepped up against the Columbus Crew it is clear that this roster is not at the point where it can afford to just stand pat and hope to compete for the league.