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Toronto FC sign ex-Liverpool defender Chris Mavinga, report claims

L’Equipe in France say the left-back has put pen to paper on a three-year deal.

Wigan Athletic v FC Rubin Kazan - UEFA Europa League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Toronto FC have signed Rubin Kazan defender Chris Mavinga, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.

This is the second major transfer the Reds have been tipped to complete this winter after reports in Peru claimed Yordy Reyna was bound for Canada - but the city was wrong on that occasion, with the forward instead joining the Vancouver Whitecaps.

L’Equipe is certainly a reliable source, however, and they include a picture of Mavinga signing a contract with his agent Bruno Satin and Jerome Meary, an MLS representative based in France.

Mavinga is naturally a left-back, which is not a need for TFC as things stand with Justin Morrow and Ashtone Morgan on the roster. He is, however, 6’ 0” tall and has also played at centre-back, meaning he could be a fit on the left side of the Reds’ three-man defence. All of Toronto’s current central defenders are right-footed.

The 25-year-old is a bit of a teenage prodigy who did not quite live up to expectations. Mavinga was signed to Paris Saint-Germain’s academy in 2006 and then joined Liverpool three years later, where he threatened to break into the first team under Rafael Benitez but was sent back down to the reserves by Roy Hodgson before leaving the club for Rennes.

He has also been tainted, fairly or not, with a reputation for unprofessionalism in France that dates back to an infamous incident in 2012. In between the two legs of a France Under-21 playoff tie for a place at Euro 2013, Mavinga, along with the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder, Antoine Griezmann and Yann M’Vila, was caught on a night out and temporarily suspended from national-team duty.

France did not qualify but while many of his teammates - most notably, of course, Griezmann - have since risen to stardom, Mavinga has struggled to establish himself in the professional game. After Rubin paid €5 million to sign him from Rennes, where he had become a first-team regular, a change of coach left him sidelined and he has since had unsuccessful loan spells with Reims and Troyes.

Mavinga now represents DR Congo but was not selected for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.