It’s only a rumour, but any kind of Toronto FC transfer news is interesting at the moment as they’ve been pretty quiet lately. According to a report from Goal.com, TFC are one of at least four MLS clubs with their eye on Rubio Rubin, an American attacking player most recently of Stabæk in Norway.
Rubin has had a turbulent few years since making the move to Europe before the age of 18. He started out with FC Utrecht in 2014, making 41 appearances over three years. He then hopped around, playing three games for Silkeborg before moving to Stabæk to finish the 2017 season.
Although his time in Europe was far from spectacular, Rubin is known among U.S. men’s national team junkies as a bright piece of the future. He’s represented his home country at the U-17, U-20, U-23, and senior national levels. In 2012, as a U-17 starlet, he was U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Athlete of the Year. That honour has previously gone to the likes of Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and Christian Pulisic.
Rubin was a key piece of the American squad for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, notably scoring the game-winning goal in the Round of 16 against Colombia. He’s also been capped four times with the USMNT, and he’s currently at the side’s winter training camp along with Alex Bono, Justin Morrow, and Marky Delgado.
He hasn’t had much goalscoring success in Europe, but Rubin plies his trade as a talented attacking player. He’s been employed as both a centre-forward and as a winger, which is a combination that could definitely help Toronto. The Reds are heavily rumoured to be after a striker and a proper wide player, and Rubin fits the bill.
I sort of doubt Rubin is TFC’s endgame; he may not be quite ready to step into a regular starting role as Toronto’s right-winger, nor even as a backup striker. The club is probably also looking for someone at the TAM level in that department. Still, Rubin is a very intriguing piece.
It may be difficult for TFC to get a hold of Rubin, unfortunately. According to the Goal.com article, he’d enter MLS through the allocation order because he’s a U.S. international. Unfortunately for the Reds, who find themselves 23rd in the pecking order after a remarkable 2017, the other interested teams may have first dibs. (This article gives a good rundown of the confusing intricacies of the allocation order.)
FC Dallas are first in that order at the moment. Toronto FC could certainly work out a deal with one of the clubs near the top of the list to move themselves up, of course (but so could Los Angeles FC, who are apparently also interested).
Anyway, some transfer gossip is definitely fun. By the way, here’s the first highlight clip I could find of Rubin: