Stejskal: Toronto FC making progress on Alejandro Pozuelo, deal not done

Alejandro Pozuelo - Genk

Toronto FC are “making progress” in their pursuit of Alejandro Pozuelo, but a deal to acquire the Spanish midfielder from Belgian club KRC Genk isn’t yet complete, club president Bill Manning told on Monday afternoon.

Canadian journalist Duane Rollins reported earlier on Monday that Pozuelo’s move to Toronto was “99 percent done” with TFC agreeing to pay Genk an $11.4 million transfer fee to immediately acquire the 27-year-old.

Manning wouldn’t comment on the specifics of a potential transfer fee. Sources told last week that TFC had met Genk’s initial buyout clause of $9 million to acquire Pozuelo, but Genk refused to let him leave the club for that price. Genk’s refusal set in motion a public back-and-forth between Pozuelo and Genk. The club claimed on Feb. 11 that they reached an agreement with Pozuelo in January that he would remain with the team for the remainder of the season. Pozuelo alleged the next day that he was “pressured” into the agreement and threatened legal action if Genk did not accede to an immediate move.

A source told last Tuesday that Toronto were hoping to have a final answer on Pozuelo within a week. The source reiterated that TFC strongly preferred to get Pozuelo into camp immediately, though they did say that the club were considering an option in which Pozuelo would remain with Genk through the end of the Belgian regular season on March 17, but that getting him to Canada immediately was always their preferred option, however. Manning confirmed as much on Monday. was first to report that TFC were interested in Pozuelo on Feb. 8.

Genk’s captain, Pozuelo has five goals and 10 assists in 26 league appearances this season and seven goals and 18 assists in 40 matches across all competitions. He has 17 goals and 29 assists in 104 league appearances since he moved to Genk in August 2015.

Toronto FC are currently preparing for the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 series against Panamanian club Independiente de la Chorrera on Tuesday at BMO Field. TFC were smashed 4-0 in the first leg in Panama last week. They’ll open the 2019 MLS regular season on Saturday at Philadelphia.