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Simonin to join Toronto FC for preseason

The French defender did not have his contract option picked up but could be back with the Reds next season.

MLS: Toronto FC at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It’s quiet. Kind of calm-before-the-storm quiet.

No one really seems to know what is brewing behind the scenes at Toronto FC, though the consensus seems to be that the signing of some kind of creative midfield player is the club’s offseason priority.

One thing the Reds can do without making a new addition is pad out the bottom end of the roster with some internal options - such as Clement Simonin, who may be back for the 2017 season after all.

Simonin had most of his 2016 wiped out by injury and Toronto decided against picking up the option to extend his contract automatically. He will, however - per Kurtis Larson of the Sun - still attend preseason training camp with a view to earning a renewal.

Here’s Larson and coach Greg Vanney:

Despite having his option declined last month, injury-plagued centre back Clement Simonin will re-join TFC for pre-season later this month.

Toronto liked what they say of the 25-year-old Frenchman in the two games he played in 2015, but a string of injuries threatened to cut short his career.

“We’ve challenged him to come back from the offseason and prove to us that he’s the guy we saw (in training) at the end of this year.”

Vanney described Simonin as potentially one of the best passing centre backs in the league who needs to work on his defensive reads.

Simonin could find the step up to the MLS level tough in a back four due to the aforementioned defensive concerns, but on the left side of a back three, with his ability to step out of defence with the ball and build from the back, he becomes a more interesting option.

With Josh Williams having departed, I’d expect Toronto will try to sign someone fairly proven to push Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta for a place alongside Drew Moor. They’d probably like another depth option beyond that, however, and that’s where Simonin could fit the bill.