TORONTO – With Spanish winger Álvaro Rey and Swiss left back Jonas Elmer already in the fold, TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne is confident that his club is still going to add a significant piece or two to the roster before the current transfer window closes.
“We are working pretty much 24 hours a day on some fairly sizable signings,” Payne told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “We’re coming up towards the end of the transfer period and these things are all complicated, but I do hope we’ll have some news before the transfer period ends. We are going to sign some DP-level talent in the next week or so.”
And on their target list is 22-year-old Argentine striker Maximiliano Urruti.
“We continue to try to find a way to sign Maximiliano Urruti and we hope that will occur,” Payne said. “We are also looking at another signing for sure, one that would join us before this window ends.”
During their reign at the helm of Toronto FC, Payne and head coach Ryan Nelsen have spoken often of their desire to build a young core of talented players who will be part of a successful squad for years to come.
Payne has highlighted the 21-year-old Argentine midfielder Laba as a key and successful signing in that regard and it was clear on Friday that adding another young South American was a priority.
“We really think that Urruti will be one of the absolute top forwards in the league and we think that he will bang in all kinds of goals,” Payne stated. “We thought were going to get him in April and that didn’t work out. He has now severed ties with Newell’s, so there’s a possibility he could end being a player in MLS and a player in Toronto.
“We’ve chased him a long time,” Payne added. “We watched him many, many times. [Chief scout] Pat Onstad has seen him live on a number of occasions. Our opinion of him has never wavered. We think he’ll be an outstanding player in our league. We are pursuing that diligently.”
Interestingly, Payne also admitted that Toronto had been very close at the end of the winter transfer window to completing a couple of deals, including one for Urruti, that would have changed Toronto’s roster considerably.
With those significant deals ultimately falling through, Payne was open in explaining that Toronto FC might be better off in the long run due to the challenges the team has faced both on the field and with respect to completing several significant player acquisitions.
“Through this period of difficulty we have learned a lot about the players that we have,” Payne said. “We now have a really good idea of the guys that we want to keep, who have the character to deal with the tough times and who we think will have the character to contribute really strongly when we start to enter into the good times.
“We will go into next season with a lot of cap room and a lot of roster flexibility and very few guaranteed contracts,” Payne continued. “By the end of this season we will be a very different team. I’m not sure if there will be anybody who started at the beginning of the season other than Joe Bendik who will end up being on the field.”