After plenty of speculation (of dubious legitimacy), it looks like Toronto FC have indeed landed right back Gregory van der Wiel from Cagliari of Serie A. According to a report from Dutch outlet Telesport, the Netherlands international has signed a two-year contract with TFC, pending a medical.
BREAKING: @GregoryvdWiel zet carrière voort bij @torontofc ... Voormalig rechtsback #Ajax en @PSG_inside tekent voor 2 jaar, als laatste details zijn besproken en medische keuring is voltooid, bevestigt zijn zaakwaarnemer Hakim Slimani desgevraagd. Meer op https://t.co/GEQb5Yl8eq— Mike Verweij (@MikeVerweij) January 26, 2018
The Tweet above basically says the right back has signed for two years, with only a few details left to work out. Verweij mentions that van der Wiel’s agent, Hakim Slimani, has confirmed the rumour to him.
Joshua Kloke of The Athletic also reports that van der Wiel is en route to Toronto, set to land today to finalize the deal.
The Reds have officially nailed down the defensive help they were looking for this off-season, adding the 29-year-old to shore up the right side for a very good chunk of TFC’s remaining window with this group.
As we’ve mentioned previously, van der Wiel is a pragmatic defensive player with a passing ability and plenty of dynamic pace down the right wing. He is certainly an upgrade on Steven Beitashour, who was still an admirable soldier in that role last season.
Van der Wiel has struggled at Cagliari and in his previous stint at Fenerbahce, but he had plenty of success at Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain, as well as the Dutch national team around the time of the 2010 World Cup.
This news may mean that TFC are officially moving on from the 3-5-2 system, since a player of van der Wiel’s calibre is probably going to play his strongest position, as a conventional fullback.
We don’t yet know what salary level van der Wiel is coming at, but I’d assume the figure is high (TAM-level high, definitely).