With the clock ticking down on the January transfer window, Toronto FC has made their first major acquisition of the offseason. The club confirmed today that they have signed defender Chris Mavinga, a 25-year-old DR Congo international, which will be made official once they receive his International Transfer Certificate.
Mavinga most recently played in Ligue 1 with Troyes, on loan from his parent club Rubin Kazan. As a youth player, he spent time with Liverpool and Paris Saint Germain but never broke through with their first teams. He has since played most of his career in Ligue 1 between Troyes, Rennes and Stade Reims.
He has mostly played at left back during his career, but has also spent time at centre back. That is where Toronto FC are expected to play him, as the left back position is already locked up with Justin Morrow and the recent re-signing of Ashtone Morgan.
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Toronto is expected to stick a back three formation this season, putting Mavinga in competition with Nick Hagglund for the left sided centre back role. Considering Mavinga’s past credentials he may well have the inside track. Either way, it appears to be a quality depth signing for the club.
“Adding a player like Chris brings depth to our backline. He is a defender that played in the French national youth system which is recognized around the world as a leader in player development,” said GM Tim Bezbatchenko in a press release. “We are very excited to add Chris to Toronto FC. His experience at the youth and senior levels will be a welcomed addition to the club.”
The terms of the deal were not announced, although initial reports from L’Equipe out of France indicated that it was a three-year contract. The monetary figures behind the deal are unlikely to be available until the MLS Players Union releases their next set of salary information.
Toronto FC have not had the best luck with Ligue 1 defenders in the past. Neither Damien Perquis nor Ahmed Kantari had a great spell with the club, although the former was put in a tough situation from the start. TFC will be hoping Mavinga turns out to be the exception, and at 25 he still has plenty of career ahead of him.