Even on Friday evening the news does not seem to stop as the situation surrounding Maximiliano Urruti continues to unfold at a rapid pace. When speaking to journalists at Toronto FC training this afternoon Kevin Payne made it quite clear that the club would do their best to bring in the Argentine forward. This from John Molinaro on Sportsnet sums up the club's interest quite succinctly.
"We continue to try to find a way to sign Maximiliano Urruti, and we hope that will occur. We are also looking at another signing, for sure, that would join us before this window ends," Payne stated.
That cleared up another piece of the puzzle as it reinforced the fact that TFC do remain interested in bringing the player to BMO Field despite failing to do so over the past few months after seemingly making a serious push to sign him back in the spring.
We also know that Urruti's days at Newell's Old Boys are all but over following his walkout. He has one year remaining on his contract with the deal but it seems he has found a way to terminate his deal early and become available on a free transfer which could have potential new clubs lining up to try and land his signature.
Toronto would certainly face some serious competition for his signature but the one thing we know about MLSE is that they have money to spend and can afford to offer him a major pay raise. If TFC could land Urruti after so many clubs have expressed interest (some reports suggest NOB received 7 transfer offers for the player) it would be a minor coup for MLS. Landing Urruti would not be anywhere near as big of a deal as the Seattle Sounders reportedly signing Clint Dempsey to the richest deal in MLS history but it would be the kind of deal that the league needs to be making to ensure the level of quality continues to improve. Bringing young attacking talent to MLS with the kind of reputation that Urruti has would be a big boost towards reaching those lofty goals MLS has set out for themselves heading towards 2020.
The Newell's side of things is that they seem to still believe that they control the rights to Urruti considering that he has a full season remaining on his deal with the club. In an article from La Capital the club's Vice President, Jorge Ricobelli, is quite clear in stating that the club do not expect to lose Urruti without at least receiving some sort of compensation for the player.
The only question is where will Urruti wind up now. According to twitter it appears he could be destined for Toronto after all and could be in town as early as Monday. The most reliable source suggesting this is Cesar Luis Merlo who is part of the production team for an Argentine soccer program called "Hay Equipo". I have no idea as to his track record when it comes to reporting such things so applying a few grains of salt would likely be wise.
Here is what Mr. Merlo had to say on his twitter account on Friday evening.
Maxi Urruti, que está en conflicto con Newell's, la semana que viene tendrá nuevo club. El tema es que se va como "libre'. Hay lío en puerta— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 3, 2013
Maxi Urruti viaja el lunes para sumarse al Toronto de la MLS. Pese a que le queda un año de contrato con Newell's, se considera libre.— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 3, 2013
Urruti tenía acuerdo con el Toronto en el torneo pasado. El pase se había cerrado en u$s 1.3M, pero como NOB iba arriba, no lo dejaron irse.— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 3, 2013
Como #Newell's entiende que no está en falta y que el jugador tiene contrato hasta 2014, se viene una larga novela por Maxi Urruti.— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) August 3, 2013
Roughly translated, Urruti will have a new club this coming week, as a free transfer. He's coming to Toronto on Monday, despite having a year left on his term, he considers himself a free agent. He reached an agreement with Toronto last season, for $1.3m, but NOB didn't let him go. Newell's sees him as still under contract so would expect a fee.
If these tweets are on the mark there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. That 1.3 million figure suggests that the TFC brass were willing to get out the cheque book to make this move happen which is good to see as to land talented players you have to be willing to spend more than the competition.
Things will likely quiet down over the weekend but there are still a lot of hurdles to be cleared and until the player is holding up a TFC shirt and smiling (or not if he is like recent signings) it is best to remain cautiously optimistic at most.
With Payne talking up big signings again today the pressure is back on TFC to deliver on all that promise and Urruti would certainly be a good start after months of building fans interest in the player.