TORONTO – Toronto FC officially announced on Friday that they have signed Argentine forward Maximiliano Urruti.
In the young attacking player, TFC supporters are hoping that their club has landed someone who will be a key performer as the club builds. They're also breathing a long sigh of relief after a transfer saga that lasted nearly six months.
Following training on Friday, Toronto FC president and general manager Kevin Payne and head coach Ryan Nelsen were quick to express their own sense of relief that the lengthy pursuit of the 22-year-old striker had finally reached fruition.
“We are very happy that Maxi has finally come to us,” Payne told MLSsoccer.com. “He is a player that [TFC chief scout] Pat Onstad and I had been looking at back in D.C. We liked him a lot then and we pursued him once we got to Toronto. It’s been a long process, but I hope it will have been a worthwhile one.”
“Kevin and Pat have been talking about Maxi for a long time now, so it is good that he is in the building and we are looking forward to having him be part of the team,” Nelsen said.
The Rosario, Argentina, native joins TFC as a free agent and he will available to play pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC), which is expected to arrive in Toronto on Friday evening.
Payne also disclosed that Urruti has signed a long-term contract, but will not be a Designated Player.
As for Urruti himself, the former Newell's Old Boys striker was quick to express both his appreciation for a club that went to great lengths to acquire him and a desire to start helping his new team as quickly as possible.
“It finally all came together,” Urruti said via translator. “The news is great news for everyone. Now it is time to get to work and for me to start playing for Toronto FC.
“It is a great feeling [that the club wanted to acquire me for so long],” Urruti added. “It is a process that has been going on for over a year. I thank Toronto for going after me for so long and really being involved in acquiring my services.”
Urruti, who highlighted Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a striker that he particularly admires, was also quick to point to former Newell’s teammate Ignacio Scocco as an attacking player who had a major influence on his development as a young attacker.
According to Payne, Scocco is also the main reason that Urruti arrives in Major League Soccer with a strike rate that is not superlatively impressive upon initial inspection.
“People talk about that he had 14 goals in 56 games and say that isn’t a lot,” Payne said. “But if you look at his goals in terms of minutes, it is a lot more impressive. He was playing behind the best player in Argentina at Newell’s, a player who just transferred for I think $10 million to Brazil. Scocco was a difficult guy to get ahead of, but Urruti was productive when he played.”
“He has shown when has had the opportunities that he knows where the net is,” Payne continued. “He is a very clean and sharp forward. His movement is really good, he’s got decent size and is good on the ball and can take people on. He can play as the highest guy and underneath.”
TFC supporters could get their first look at Urruti when Toronto faces off against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. However, Nelsen was keeping his cards close to his vest when asked whether or not his newest addition would see any action against Robert Warzycha’s squad.
“He hasn’t done much in quite a bit of time,” Nelsen said. “So we are going to ease him in, but you never know [about Saturday]. He will travel with us to Columbus. He needs to learn the life on the road in the MLS and to get accustomed to everything.”
“I am now at the coach’s disposal,” Urruti said. “Whatever he wants, he will get. I have been training and I am fit. If the coach needs me to go, I am ready to go.”