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Report: Toronto FC Close to Signing Canadian Youngster Hanson Boakai

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The FC Edmonton midfielder is just 19 and has already been called up to the Canadian Men's National team, and has played for Canada at several levels.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

With the season ending in disappointing fashion, it appears that Toronto FC are already working towards making their team better for next season.

Duane Rollins of Canadian Soccer News is reporting on twitter that Toronto FC are close to signing FC Edmonton and Canadian Men's National Team midfielder Hanson Boakai.

Rollins has a strong history of breaking Toronto FC transfer moves, as he broke both the Doneil Henry to Apollon Limassol story from last season, as well as predicting Gilberto's departure.

According to him, acquiring Boakai is a first team move. The club would likely consider loaning him back to FC Edmonton before sending  him down to Toronto FC II. It would be a free transfer for the club.

Boakai is on Toronto FC's discovery list, according to Rollins, and therefore no other clubs can negotiate with the player.

Nothing is official on this front, however, as several Toronto FC journalists have talked to club sources who say that no signing has been made. John Molinaro of Sportsnet, however, did confirm that Boakai is one of Toronto FC's targets.

Steven Sandor of The11.ca has talked to Boakai's agent, who says that the talks are "still early" and that a deal could still be reached with FC Edmonton.

The 19-year-old Boakai has played three seasons for the NASL's FC Edmonton. He has also played for Canada at the U-15, U-17, U-20 level as well as with the U-23 Pan Am and Olympic teams. He has been called up to camp for the senior team but has never played.

During that time he has impressed, with reports that he has been drawing interest for MLS clubs since 2014. His play has earned him the tongue-and-cheek nickname "Canadian Messi".

Boakai would be brought in to address the club's lack of depth on the wings, which was an issue this season. His pace and skill out wide would be a major asset to the club.

How much playing time a player like Boakai would get on the Toronto FC first team remains to be seen, as he would not fit into the system that Greg Vanney played for most of the season.

He would be a strong option coming off the bench, however, and would certainly be in a good environment to grow his game playing beside players like Sebastian Giovinco, and fellow Canadian Jonathan Osorio.

The one draw back to Boakai is the reports in the past that he has had some attitude problems. With FC Edmonton he had his fair share of disciplinary issues with coach Colin Miller, and was left off the team as a result on more than one occasion.

At the very least, it is nice to see that Toronto FC are focusing on some Canadian content, and using the advantage that they have that comes with scouting local Canadian talent. Hopefully, Boakai is just the start.