Robert Earnshaw is currently in Toronto as he considers a possible move to the club on a loan deal. His visit is also reported to be a trial as the coaching staff are hoping to get a better look at the player before working out any kind of deal to bring him in.
All that we know because Kevin Payne confirmed it at the Torsten Frings retirement press conference. Payne also insisted that any deal was very much in its infancy and things would take time to progress as they were just bringing the player in to get a look at him and allow him to get a look at the club before talks went further.
It seems like things are heating up faster than expected though after his tour of a the facilities yesterday. Earnshaw arrived at practice yesterday in TFC gear but did not take to the field with the team on Monday. With the loan deal for Hogan Ephraim all wrapped up it seems that the TFC brass have moved on to working on a deal with Earnshaw to bring the 31 year old forward in on a loan.
Welsh international Robert Earnshaw remains in Toronto. I'm told talks have progressed with #TFC— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) February 28, 2013
Talks will still likely take a few days to complete but it looks like there is a very good chance that Earnshaw could be joining the club in the coming days. He is currently under contract with Cardiff City but his manager there seems set to help the former Welsh international find playing time.
In a report from the Daily Star Cardiff boss Malky Mackay is quoted as saying that the club would not stand in the way of Earnshaw going out on loan as he is not getting any playing time with Cardiff.
"Rob's going over to have a look around and a talk with Toronto about the possibility of a loan.
"Whether it happens or not is another matter, but we've given him the opportunity to do that. Rob needs his career to go on because this is football after all.
"There's nothing been biting here for him and if he feels that a move there would be something beneficial to him, then I'm certainly not going to stand in his way."
Earnshaw spent the end of 2012 out on loan to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Isreal where he scored 2 goals in 9 appearances but rejoined Cardiff in January and has not played since then. If he were to join Toronto on a loan deal it would likely take him some time to return to match fitness having only made 10 total appearances since last spring when he wrapped up the 2011-2012 season with Cardiff.
Add this tweet for Earnshaw last night at it looks like there might just be news ready to announce in the coming days:
I will give you some news very soon.— Robert Earnshaw (@RobertEarnshaw) February 27, 2013
If he does sign it would be stunning to see him ready to go against Vancouver as he still needs to get back to match fitness and would require an international transfer certificate but there would be at least a slim chance of him being in the 18 for Toronto's home opener which would be a big plus considering the club's top two forwards are both on the injured list with Justin Braun having a concussion and Danny Koevermans still out for the foreseeable future with his knee injury.
UPDATE: It has now been confirmed that Robert Earnshaw has signed with Toronto FC. The source? The man himself:
Breaking news:I have now signed and officially a @torontofc Player.— Robert Earnshaw (@RobertEarnshaw) February 28, 2013
Season starts this Saturday.Now on the plane flying to Vancouver for the opening game.— Robert Earnshaw (@RobertEarnshaw) February 28, 2013
While it seems unlikely that Earnshaw would play on Saturday considering he still needs his ITC and some time to practice with the team and get to match fitness it is another step in the team filling out it's roster. We still don't have details of the deal (presumably another loan akin to Hogan Ephraim) but we'll update you as soon as that's made public.