Football Italia is reporting that Toronto FC may be in negotiations with Cagliari (and former Paris Saint-Germain) right back Gregory van der Wiel. The 29-year-old Dutch international has only been at the Serie A club since August, but he apparently could be looking for an out.
TFC are in the market for a right back after Steven Beitashour signed with Los Angeles FC as a free agent this month. Van der Wiel would certainly fill that hole nicely, coming with a top-notch international pedigree.
Van der Wiel began his senior career with Ajax of the Eredivisie, after which he made 89 appearances for Ligue 1 giants PSG, followed by a short stint with Fenerbahce. He also has 46 international caps with the Netherlands, having represented the Oranje at the 2010 World Cup (where they went to the final) and Euro 2012.
Rumours that van der Wiel could make the jump to MLS are a little surprising, considering how recently he transferred to Serie A, but he’s struggled to find a place in the Cagliari squad this season. He has appeared just six times with the club in 2017-18.
Cagliari signed van der Wiel for €1 million in the summer, after things didn’t work out for the defender in Turkey. Some of the best years of his career so far came in his time at PSG, where he was a semi-regular fixture in the squad.
Any move TFC make for van der Wiel is sure to be an expensive one. He could well be the player they had in mind when they traded down their first-round pick at the SuperDraft in order to pick up $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money. A player of his pedigree would quite likely be in the TAM range; I’d guess he’ll at least be more than Chris Mavinga’s $265,008 (probably much more).
I’m skeptical, but not at all ready to dismiss this outright. Van der Wiel would absolutely fit into the lineup at right back if TFC want to move to four at the back (he’s probably a little too defensive to play wingback). Also, for the transfer detectives among us: van der Wiel does have an MLSsoccer.com player page (but then again, so does Lionel Messi).