The busy month of January looks set to continue for Toronto FC as the club continues to work towards building a roster that can finally get the team to the playoffs. The latest target seems to be Benoit Cheyrou who has been without a club since his contract with Marseille was terminated in late October.
According to a report from Sportsnet, the club are in talks with the veteran midfielder and have even brought the player to Toronto in hopes of completing a deal that could be announced as early as next week. It seems to be a very solid report with the potential for the player to be added on a free transfer.
The money the club saved by trading Dominic Oduro to the Montreal Impact plus some of the allocation money that they have stock piled will make it possible to bring in the 33-year-old central midfielder without having to worry about him putting them in danger of not fitting under the salary cap (whatever it is in the new CBA).
Cheyrou is a French midfielder who has amassed quite the resume in League Un making over 400 appearances. While he never hit the heights of his older brother, Bruno, he proved to be a solid player for Lille, Auxerre, and Marseille over a long career in France. He was also a youth international for the country making appearances up to the Under-21 level.
Greg Vanney will have some familiarity with Cheyrou from the years that they were both playing in France. They were never on the same team but Vanney would have had plenty of chances to see Cheyrou play either on tape or as a member of the opposition. That familiarity may be a few years old but it would at least provide Vanney and the club with some background on what sort of player they would be getting.
If Cheyrou were to sign he would be a good fit in the middle of the park. He has played as a central midfielder his entire career and while he is able to get forward and contribute to the attack now and then he is also a very capable defender. He would make a logical choice as someone to partner Michael Bradley in the middle of the park.
By pairing Cheyrou and Bradley together in the middle of the pitch it would give the team the flexibility to have them both given the freedom to push forward when the chance is there. At any time you could have one of them sitting back to provide coverage for the defenders while the other gets forward. It is a dynamic that Toronto was lacking last season with no one really proving to be a good partner for Bradley.
The knock on Cheyrou would be that he was no longer able to cut it at Marseille which is why his contract was terminated at the end of October. His age seemed to be catching up with him by the end of his time at the club and he was no longer able to break in to the starting lineup. That said, 33-years-old does not mean that he has nothing left to offer but rather that he might just not be at the level of a club like Marseille anymore.
Cheyrou has been a very steady player throughout his career as he has managed to avoid any serious injury problems over the years. Since the 2001-02 season he has never once played less than 30 total matches in any season which is impressive for a central midfielder.
The addition of a capable defensive midfielder would certainly address one of the few glaring holes left in the teams intended 4-3-3 for next season. The question will be if Cheyrou still has the physical tools to get it done in MLS but if the answer to that is yes then he could be a great addition for Toronto FC.
Nothing is official yet but it seems there is a good chance that we will have another player signing to talk about shortly.