Toronto FC added yet another blue-chip recruit to their roster on Friday, announcing the signing of playmaker Ager Aketxe from La Liga club Athletic Bilbao via Targeted Allocation Money. The Basque midfielder will be added to TFC's roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and Canadian work permit.
“Ager is a talented midfielder, that developed at an historic club, in one of the top leagues in the world,” said TFC senior VP and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a club release. “Ager has both the ability to create as well as finish. He possesses a tremendous work rate along with a great attitude. We are very excited to bring him to Toronto FC and have no doubt he will be a welcomed addition to our club.”
Aketxe, 24, is a Bilbao native who rose through Athletic’s widely-respected youth academy system from the age of 10, making his first-team debut in 2013. The club terminated his contract by mutual consent on Feb. 16 to clear the decks for his move to MLS.
He scored five goals in 18 matches on loan with Spanish second-division side Cadiz last year before returning to Athletic to make made 14 appearances for the Basques-only club during their current campaign, primarily coming off the bench in Europa League and Copa del Rey action.
Aketxe joins an already-fearsome TFC midfield highlighted by his countryman Victor Vazquez, US international Michael Bradley and a host of other options for head coach Greg Vanney.
The Reds are set to host the Colorado Rapids in the second and decisive leg of their CONCACAF Champions League series on Tuesday (8 pm ET | UnivisionDeportes.com, Galavision on tape delay in US, TSN in Canada), carrying a 2-0 aggregate advantage home to BMO Field after their first-leg victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.