TORONTO, Canada—Things are heating up on the hunt for Toronto FC’s third designated player.
In an exclusive sit down with Bruno Giufrida of Globo Esporte (GE), transfer target Yeferson Soteldo has expressed his desire to join TFC.
“I’m excited to play for Toronto FC,” said the current Santos forward through the help of Google Translate. “They count on me to fight for everything and to be one of the players in the franchise. Canada is a beautiful country, and the MLS has grown impressively.
“I am sure that very soon it will be one of the most powerful leagues in the world. And I want to be part of that story.”
According to multiple reports—originally by news outlet A Tribuna–Toronto FC made a six-million dollar offer for the five-foot-two winger, who can also play through the middle. The report states that TFC have made a bid for 75 per cent of the Venezuelan attacker’s rights as Santos find themselves in a bit of a financial crisis, still owing 4.8 million to Chilean club Huachipato, where Soteldo was originally signed from back in 2019.
“I hope that the clubs that hold my sporting and economic rights will reach an agreement and a solution soon,” added Soteldo. “I sincerely ask you to resolve the differences immediately, for the benefit of everyone and my family.”
According to Globo Esporte, who are also reporting a TFC bid, the breakdown of TFC’s offer is as follows:
•$4M for the 50% of his rights owned by Santos.
•$2M for 25% of his rights owned by Huachipato (who own the other 50 per cent)
Apparently, TFC need to reach an agreement with both clubs, but Huachipato want more money for the player who they’ve yet to receive payment for, despite Soteldo already playing over 100 matches for the Brazillian club.
While a deal hopefully works out, the 23-year-old Venezuelan international has vowed to give Santos his all in the meantime.
“I spent two and a half wonderful years at Santos. It was a dream,” said Soteldo. “I feel that I grew up, I appreciate what I experienced and I also gave everything to the club. Use responsibly the 10 of the King (Pelé), play in a legendary stadium, feel the love of Santos fans ... We went through beautiful moments, like playing the Libertadores final, and other very difficult ones, like spending months with uncertainties for collect and accumulate debts. But love for the club and this shirt has always been above all.”
“In the meantime, I will continue to give Santos my best in all games and training. Let no one doubt that.”
Soteldo has registered one goal and one assist in seven appearances so far this season after scoring seven times and adding nine assists in 44 games in 2019—including this absolute screamer in the semifinal of the 2020 Copa Libertadores.
Yeferson Soteldo played a major role for Santos in their run to 2020 Copa Libertadores final, including this golazo in the semifinal vs Boca.— JG Fútbol (@JGFutbol10) April 22, 2021
Along with Marinho, he's their best player and source of attacking creativity and inspiration.#TFCLivepic.twitter.com/B1Gv8bMB2z
His stature is reminiscent of a former TFC legend, and if there’s anything we’ve learned from the past, size doesn’t necessarily matter if you have the talent, and the play below demonstrates that there’s definitely an abundance of skill in his toolkit.
Santos' Venezuelan forward Yeferson Soteldo scored this lovely flick-up-and-bicycle-kick combo against Botafogo yesterday. pic.twitter.com/SQL4XM4QLF— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) January 18, 2021
Earlier this week, Toronto FC President Bill Manning told OneSoccer that the club was honing in on a player in their designated player hunt.
While the team is still debating whether or not to wait until the secondary transfer window when their potential acquisition’s salary budget charge would be half as much, if reports are true, perhaps the Reds are indeed bringing in their guy as they navigate their way through a congested schedule early in the year.
Transfermarkt currently has Soteldo valued at 8.8 million USD, so he would all but certainly be a designated player with Toronto. TFC currently have one DP spot still available after electing not to exercise their option on Pablo Piatti’s contract this past offseason, as Piatti eventually returned to Spain.
Toronto FC are apparently offering ‘much higher’ wages than he’s currently earning in Brazil, which would go a long way in securing his long-term future.
“The club (Santos) is experiencing a very critical economic situation,” said Soteldo. “The offer that came from Toronto FC is very good for the club, it will help to resolve debts and will also guarantee my future and that of my family. I have three children. The world and football have changed because of the pandemic. While in many parts of the world, including Europe, dozens of clubs are failing, there was an offer from MLS that I cannot refuse.”
The latest report has Toronto FC hoping to reach a deal for Soteldo as soon as this weekend.
Toronto espera cerrar el fichaje de Yeferson Soteldo durante el fin de semana. Ya elevó propuesta oficial a Santos y no está alejada de las pretensiones del club brasileño. El contrato del futbolista está arreglado y el deseo del venezolano es que la transferencia se realice. pic.twitter.com/lfB2FWpGzR— VarskySports (@VarskySports) April 23, 2021
We’ll keep you updated on how this story unfolds.