TORONTO – With midfielder Luis Silva traded to D.C. United for allocation money on Tuesday, many TFC supporters were shocked to see the departure of Toronto’s fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLS Entry Draft.
According to TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen, the decision to trade the talented 24-year-old attacking midfielder was not one that the Toronto FC brass made lightly.
“It is really unfortunate,” Nelsen said of the trade following training on Tuesday. “Luis has been so great for Toronto. Since I have been here he has been absolutely fantastic. But it was an opportunity and obviously the money that we get is extremely valuable. It was also an opportunity [for Luis] where D.C. kind of want to build their team around him.”
“A decision like this was not an easy one by any means,” Nelsen added. “There was long time spent thinking and contemplating it. With things that are happening very shortly it was a move we were going to have to make and we wanted to make it a win for the player and for the club. We wish Luis all the best because he is a fantastic man.”
Given Silva’s departure, the obvious question that follows in the wake of the move surrounds which player -- or players -- will be brought in by TFC to take advantage of the additional salary cap space that the trade has created.
With numerous reports this week linking Toronto to Uruguayan superstar Diego Forlán, who currently plies his trade with Brazilian outfit Internacional, the TFC gaffer looked like someone who did not want to count his chickens before they were hatched when he was asked whether the trading of Silva meant his club was on the verge of acquiring the Golden Ball winner at the 2010 World Cup or even an another player of a similar ilk.
“[Forlán] is currently contracted with a club,” Nelsen said. “Doesn’t he play in Brazil somewhere? He is a player who is under contract, so I can’t really talk about him. Obviously he is a good player and it wouldn’t be too bad to have him.
“Everybody is working really hard and hopefully we can get something over the line soon with numerous players,” Nelsen added.
Forlán acknowledged the interest, but distanced himself from the report in a statement released Tuesday.
"I'm very happy here and I have a contract," the 2010 World Cup Golden Ball winner said. "I said I would like to play in the United States, also in the Middle East. But I have a contract here for another two years."
While it is still likely that offensive reinforcement are a good bet to arrive in Toronto during the summer transfer window, Nelsen was willing to admit that the trading of Silva does leave him somewhat short-handed for TFC’s upcoming matches against Sporting Kansas City and Chivas USA, especially given the fact that Jonathan Osorio is away with the Canadian national team at the Gold Cup.
“It is a wee bit awkward and the timing is not great, but we had to make a move,” Nelsen said. “It was pretty much only on the table for a short time and we kind of had to do it. Obviously we might be hurting for one or two games, but in the long run it will benefit the club.”