Toronto FC made its first splash in the summer transfer market today by signing Canadian international forward Tosaint Ricketts. The Alberta native had been training with Toronto FC for several weeks, but paperwork issues delayed Toronto FC's signing process.
Knowing that he was around the team has given fans time to process his signing. Opinion on Ricketts has been fairly mixed, just as it is whenever he starts with the Canadian men's national team. Some feel that this was a good bit of business for Toronto FC, while others are quick to point out Ricketts' flaws.
Ultimately, as with all signings, only time will tell whether Ricketts works out with Toronto FC. His signing, given the flexibility he provides the team in multiple positions, makes a lot of sense. But whether or not things work out in Toronto will come down to a variety of factors.
The first is obviously, can he bring the goals that Toronto FC so desperately need at the moment? Toronto FC has the fourth-worst offence in the league right now, something that boiled over when they failed to break down a 9-man San Jose Earthquakes team this summer.
Ricketts has never been a prolific finisher in his career, but when presented with opportunities he is a decent scorer. He is the sixth highest scorer in Canadian national team history, with 12 goals in 50 games. Ironically, eight of those goals have come at BMO Field where he has played some of his best career soccer.
Another factor is where he fits, and how much Greg Vanney ends up using him. Tim Bezbatchenko brought in Herculez Gomez as striker depth during the last transfer window, but the veteran forward rarely played. Ricketts, however, has the advantage of being able to play anywhere from striker to right wing to right midfielder.
The biggest withheld piece of information around Ricketts is how much he costs. It is no secret that Toronto FC are close to the league salary cap ceiling, and only a portion of Damien Perquis' salary was taken off of the books. While Ricketts is not expected to be an overtly expensive signing, if he costs significantly more than $100,000 a year there will be an uproar in some circles.
Finally, Toronto FC fans will be curious to see how Ricketts fits into the depth chart alongside fellow Canadians Jordan Hamilton and Mo Babouli. Both Babouli and Hamilton have proven to be talented forwards for Toronto, and Hamilton especially deserves to keep his place as third on the striker depth chart for now.
In fact, considering Hamilton's play of late there were questions as to whether Toronto FC needed Ricketts at all. But Ricketts allows Toronto FC to potentially play three up front, like they did at the start of the season, and brings speed up front not currently present. Having another tool with different uses in Toronto's attacking force never hurts.
If he helps break the club out of their recent scoring slump, is affordable and doesn't fully take the spot of one of Toronto FC's young strikers, Ricketts will end up being a good bit of business for Toronto FC. If it doesn't work out it will be a disappointing move, as this team really could use some reinforcements.