Joao Plata is not in training camp and the official word from Toronto FC's front office was that they are looking to secure another loan deal for the winger to help him continue his development. No loan is in place thus far and that means the Ecuadorian's future with the club is still very much up in the air.
The plot took another turn today as Futbol Ecuador are reporting that he is on the verge of being shipped out to Real Salt Lake. The interesting part of the report is that they are suggesting it could actually end up being the loan deal that TFC have been looking for and that Plata would join RSL on a year long loan.
The deal really would be a confusing one as it would not make sense to send Plata out on loan to another club within MLS. If he were to preform well there it would just help out one of Toronto's competitors. Yes, Real Salt Lake is in the other conference and their success has little impact on TFC but it would still be a bit odd to send a player on loan to them.
The potential upside of such a deal would be that Plata would then actually be getting the chance to develop in MLS which is where Toronto needs him to find a way to be successful. Another loan to Central or South America might help his overall game improve but it would do little to help him adjust to the physical demands of MLS play.
The move also seems to make a fair bit of sense from an RSL perspective as the club is in serious need of help in the attacking department. They currently only have three forwards on their roster and the most important one, Álvaro Saborío, will likely miss some time this season for World Cup qualifiers.
If they added Plata he would be the kind of player that could come off the bench late in games to provide that spark when other teams are tired. He would also provide some depth behind Saborío and Robbie Findley who certainly won't be able to play every single minute this season.
For RSL, picking up Plata on a year long loan would help to address a clear need in the squad but also potentially save them some money. They have been forced to make moves this season to cut their salary and do not seem to be in position to spend big money to bring in attacking options so landing a player like Plata might just fit from that perspective as well.
Here is what our friends over at RSL Soapbox are saying about the rumor. They seem to think it might make sense but like us feel that until something more concrete comes up it is nothing more than just a rumor started by the player's agent speaking to the press in Ecuador.
The official word from TFC? Well, John Molinaro reached out to the club and this is what he had to say via twitter.
#TFC official tells me there is no update on Joao Plata. Status quo for time being.— John Molinaro (@JohnMolinaro) January 24, 2013
It all seems like a bit far fetched but my real hope is that after going through two drawn out sagas with Plata last year the team can handle things better this time around. First it took ages to find out if the club was going to sign him and bring him back for 2012 but that ended up looking like a walk in the park compared to the messy situation that surrounded him going out on loan back to LDU Quito.
It still remains unclear if we have seen the last of Plata at BMO Field but at least his chances of coming back should increase with a new coaching staff in place. He was clearly out of favour of with Paul Mariner after being a key player for Aron Winter. Now we wait to see if and when he will factor into Ryan Nelsen's TFC squad.