Closure is a hard way to describe anything that came of this incredibly bizarre situation, but it is the closest term to explain the mood after it was announced today that the mystery club in Cyprus that Doneil Henry had been sold to was Apollon Limassol. The reason behind keeping fans and media alike in the dark on this has yet to be revealed, and probably never will be as that story really no longer has any legs after this revelation.
It may well have been that Henry's explanation was true: he didn't want to be a distraction and therefore kept it a secret. No reason to believe that isn't the case, other than the fact that Toronto FC and Major League Soccer both tend to be fairly shifty in terms of dealings behind closed doors. The team prefaced the deal on their website as if it was something that had just happened, instead of being a reality for the entire season.
Now that there is a club in the equation, how good this move is for Henry can be assessed. Or at least the educational guess on the subject has a bit more education. Last season, Limassol finished in 3rd place in the Cypriot First Division. They also finished just outside of the knockout rounds for the Europa League, which they are once again competing in this year. This year they are currently in second place after 7 games. On a national team note, it is also the owner of Daniel Haber, who is currently away on loan.
From what has emerged about the Cypriot league, there is some quality but it isn't deep. The top teams are solid and have shown well against the best in Europe, just look at APOEL in the Champions League. Thankfully for Henry, Apollon Limassol happens to be one of these top sides and therefore could end up being a very good move for the young Canadian. It is no secret that he has ambitions of some day playing in Europe, this is his ticket inside.
Cyprus is well known for how easily they will hand out passports, another angle on all of this. While it is incredibly difficult to get a work visa in other countries around Europe, Cyprus has been known to hand people the keys to Europe within a single year. This could be huge for Henry, who knows if he would have stayed at West Ham this year had the paperwork been easily sortable.
However, who knows if he will even leave Toronto FC in the first place. He made it very clear in his season ending interview that he had not left the club yet, but could well be back for next season. The club clearly wants him back, and he is one of the few who has consistently demonstrated his loyalty. It is a big part of why the fans reacted so poorly when this entire situation became public knowledge.
Hopefully this ends up being the positive spin on what still seems like a very mishandled bit of information that caused outrage amongst fans and media alike. The club is now known, all that needs to be figured out is whether Henry's immediate future lies in Canada, or in Cyprus. He may be a player without refined talent, but there is certainly boundless potential for Henry to make something of himself overseas.
Toronto FC would miss him. A thin defense after injuries was a big reason why Toronto didn't make the playoffs this year and the depth in that position only gets worse if Henry departs. But this might ultimately be the right move for a young and ambitious professional who has dreams and aspirations outside of MLS.
The league has certainly developed a ton in the last couple of years, and it has gotten better a developing its young players as a result. But it is still nowhere close to Europe in terms of what it can bring to a young professional technically and experience wise. Cyprus is only a launchpad for Henry, and there's a real chance that he could continue to move upwards in a hurry.