TORONTO – Toronto FC academy product Doneil Henry is currently in his fifth year with the club. But technically speaking the central defender has been on loan during 2014.
It was revealed at training on Thursday that the 21-year-old Canadian international was sold to a club in Cyprus at the beginning of this season.
TFC general manager, Tim Bezbatchenko, spoke with reporters from Sportsnet and The Canadian Press after training and confirmed the move, though details on the specific club and any potential transfer fee were not disclosed.
“We took the offer seriously," Bezbatchenko told the outlets. "But it was on the condition that he’d be loaned back to us for the remainder of the year and potentially for 2015.”
As part of the deal, Toronto FC did reportedly receive allocation money, but the transaction did not alter Henry’s MLS salary budget hit in 2014.
The team’s management will next sit down with Henry and discuss his future at the end of the season, but TFC head coach Greg Vanney confirmed the club will not stand in Henry's way should he decide to leave the club.
“For me, when a player wants to try to pursue things overseas, we want to be supportive,” Vanney said at training. “At the same time, we wanted him here, and it’s an arrangement where he’s a Toronto FC player as long as he and we agree on that.”
Bezbatchenko also told the two Canadian outlets that should Henry be sold off to a different European team in the interim, Toronto would first need to be consulted and TFC would also receive compensation.
He also explained the reason the decision was not made public before Thursday: “In our position, the player wasn’t leaving; there was nothing changing about the player budget [and] there was even a chance he might be here next year. We thought it would be more of a distraction, more than anything.”
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Henry made 20 appearances and 18 starts for TFC in 2014. Since graduating to the senior team from the Toronto FC Academy in 2010, Henry has played in 69 league games for Toronto FC. He has also become a regular member of the Canadian men’s national team while at Toronto FC.
The player was unavailable for comment at Thursday training and the club now hits the road for its final regular season match at New England on Saturday (7:30 pm ET; TSN2 in Canada). Players will return to BMO Field on Tuesday to clear out their lockers and speak to media for the final time.
The club’s management is expected to speak with the media on Wednesday, when further details may be revealed.
Armen Bedakian covers Toronto FC for MLSsoccer.com.