When rumours of Toronto FC’s interest in Cagliari’s Gregory van der Wiel began to surface a few days ago, they seemed a touch far-fetched. Now, though, we’ve got a little more information, and TFC really do seem to be involved with the Dutch right back.
First, there’s the non-committal answers we got from Tim Bezbatchenko. He kind of shrugged off this specific rumour, saying TFC get lumped into a lot of transfer gossip, but he did say he didn’t want to “confirm or deny who we’re looking at.”
Then, there’s the influx of reporters (both from here and from Italy) speculating that van der Wiel might be on the move to Toronto.
Now, my Italian definitely isn’t as good as my French, but I can try.
Van der Wiel vicino all’accordo totale con il Toronto dopo l’offerta della scorsa settimana #sportitaliamercato— Gianluigi Longari (@Glongari) January 25, 2018
Italian football writer Gianluigi Longari says “Van der Wiel close to a full agreement with Toronto after the offer last week.”
We’re hearing similar stuff from people on our side too:
Reports out of Netherlands saying that van der Wiel has an offer from Toronto FC. #TFCLive— Steve Gennaro (@_sgennaro) January 23, 2018
According to Cagliari News 24, van der Wiel was held out of training today. Apparently he’s battling pharyngitis at the moment, but it is definitely worth noting that he wasn’t working out with the club.
Then, of course, there’s my absolute favourite part of transfer season. Remember when Angel Di Maria’s wife liked an Instagram post with a Manchester United crest in it? Social media is often pretty terrible, but the sleuthing that goes on during January and July is pretty fantastic.
Toronto FC are now a big club, for that very reason. Van der Wiel has recently gone on a Toronto-related Instagram spree. He liked Drake’s latest post earlier this morning.
My investigative skills don’t extend much further than the home and power buttons on my iPhone, but that’s all I need to take a screenshot of his Instagram story this morning:
I wonder why he’s up so early. Also, Drake appears again. I know he’s obviously extremely famous, but I’m pretty sure meeting the rapper had a hand in convincing Jermain Defoe to come over, didn’t it?
Then there was this (thanks, Red Patch Boys forum):
Again, my Italian ain’t great but this speaks for itself. This ranks very high on the sheer muppetry scale, but it would at least be weird for van der Wiel to be doing this if there wasn’t smoke here.
For those who haven’t been keeping up with the saga, van der Wiel is a right back for Cagliari of Serie A. Prior to moving to Italy in August, he played for Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain, and Ajax. He’ll turn 30 in a couple weeks.
Van der Wiel was the Netherlands’ starting right back in the World Cup Final in 2010, and he was a major part of the team at Euro 2012.
The Reds could absolutely use a right back, and they’ve explicitly said they’re in the market for help on that side. They have plenty of Targeted Allocation Money to use to help get van der Wiel on a non-DP contract (otherwise he definitely would be).
The more we hear about it, the more I think this is real. Not necessarily a guarantee, but I definitely believe that TFC are in advanced talked with van der Wiel.