Toronto FC nears deal with Dutch right back Gregory van der Wiel


Gregory van der Wiel in action for former club Paris Saint Germain. (Thibault Camus/AP)

TORONTO — It appears Toronto FC has found one of its international targets.

Dutch international Gregory van der Wiel was courtside at the Raptors’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko, who declined comment last week on the club’s reported interest in van der Wiel, was courtside with the right back at the Air Canada Centre.

Multiple reports have linked the 29-year-old to the MLS champions. L’Equipe and the Dutch news outlet Telesport both reported the right back will sign a two-year deal with Toronto.

Van der Wiel excelled at Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain, but has struggled since moving to Turkey’s Fenerbahce in 2016 and Italy’s Cagliari in 2017.

His signing would fill a void on the right side left by the free-agent departure of Steven Beitashour to Los Angeles FC, although Toronto does have Liechtenstein international Nico Hasler. Toronto also lost wingback Raheem Edwards, now with Montreal, during the off-season.

TFC has plenty of targeted allocated money at its disposal, funds designed to help acquire or reduce the salary cap hit of elite players. Toronto also has several international roster spots available.

Toronto currently is at training camp in the Los Angeles area. It opens play Feb. 20 against Colorado in the CONCACAF Champions League round of 16.

Toronto won its pre-season opener Saturday, defeating collegiate side UC Irvine 4-0.

The goals came from Tsubasa Endoh, Shaan Hundal, Ryan Telfer and Malik Johnson as Toronto used three different lineups during the match.


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