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Toronto FC closing in on loan deal for Bradley Orr

According to a BBC report. Toronto FC are close to securing a loan deal for Blackburn Rovers defender Bradley Orr. The deal would run through until next December.

Claudio Villa

Those reports linking Bradley Orr to Toronto FC do not seem to be going away but instead have grown stronger over recent days.  The most recent update seems to have come from the BBC who are reporting that a deal has been agreed in principal between Blackburn Rovers and Toronto FC.

The deal for Orr would initially be a year long loan deal running through until December and could eventually lead to a full transfer for the defender.  The defender is clearly out of favour with Rovers and the club, which has had more than its share of struggles with finances, are looking to get his fairly large salary off the books.

Most recently he was on loan with Blackpool for the first half of the season.  He only made 4 league appearances for the club during that time as he struggled to crack the lineup.  The 31-year-old seems like he is no longer at the level that saw him make a handful of Premier League appearances when he first joined Rovers and saw him be one of the top defenders in the Championship not that long ago when with QPR.

Orr would be coming in to provide some experience at right-back and hopefully an upgrade over Mark Bloom and Ryan Richter.  The move would also make sense for the player as he would be quite likely to get increased playing time and might be able to get his career going once more.  If he can find a way to get back to playing at a similar level to when he was at his best he could certainly help stabilize TFC's back four by adding yet another veteran presence.  The best case scenario would be that he comes in and works out just like Steven Caldwell but there is certainly plenty of room for this move to go wrong.

The big question mark about this move seemed to be that Orr has a criminal record as a result of spending a short time in jail for an incident outside a nightclub back in 2005.  We have seen such records cause problems for players looking to come to MLS but you would assume that a club with a General Manager with a background in law would have done their due diligence on his ability to get the proper permits before moving forward with any interest in the player.

To make this deal happen TFC would likely only be able to take on a portion of Orr's current salary with Rovers.  The defender is reported to be on a fairly sizeable contract for a defender in the Championship and if Toronto were to take on that full figure it would eat up far too big a chunk of the salary cap and create a similar situation to what they went through with Ecks.

This move for Orr seems quite similar to the sort of moves that Ryan Nelsen was making early in his time with the club.  He is an out-of-favour player from England, plays for a team that Nelsen has connections to, and is coming in on loan.  There is nothing wrong with going back to that kind of move but it is a bit of a surprise considering that TFC seemed to be moving in a different direction of late.

The Orr deal should be announced in the coming days with an eye to having the defender in place for the start of preseason in Toronto.  With this move TFC's roster is starting to look quite crowded as it would push the total to 31 players, including the draft picks, which is one more than MLS allows.  TFC are also close to maxing out their international slots but they should be able to clear up some space if they can ever find a way to get rid of Richard Eckersley and perhaps some other players like Jonas Elmer.

The signing of Orr on loan would offer a potential solution to one of the team's biggest remaining question marks after their big offseason moves.  He should provide experience and toughness on the right side of the defence but more importantly he should offer a defensive upgrade on Bloom.  A back four of Justin Morrow, Doneil Henry, Caldwell, and Orr would be a substantial upgrade over what Toronto had to work with last season should this deal go through.