Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo, a former league MVP, is on the move as Toronto FC continues its teardown and rebuild.
A source, granted anonymity because the deal had not been announced, confirmed that the 30-year-old is headed to Inter Miami CF. The source said Toronto will receive assets in exchange, but not a player.
Pozuelo, who won MLS MVP honours in 2020, is out of contract with Toronto this summer. At US$4.69-million this year, he is the fourth-highest paid player in MLS, according to numbers released in April by the MLS Players Association.
Pozuelo’s departure opens up a designated player spot for Toronto, with speculation that the MLS club has Italian international Federico Bernardeschi, an Italian international winger/attacking midfielder, in its sights.
The 28-year-old Bernardeschi spent the last five season with Juventus, winning three Serie A titles, two Italian Cups and two Italian Super Cups. He is out of contract with the storied Italian club.
TFC already has two Italians waiting in the wings, with Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Criscito eligible to make their debut come Thursday’s start of the MLS secondary transfer window. Toronto (5-10-3) hosts the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Toronto’s other two DPs are Mexican defender Carlos Salcedo and Insigne. Salcedo has been sidelined by a family matter of late, with suggestions he may want to return to Mexico as a result.
Toronto acquired Pozuelo in March, 2019 from Belgium’s KRC Genk as a designated player. In four seasons with TFC, he has 26 goals and 31 assists in league play. And at his best, he was the straw that stirred the Toronto drink, with great vision on the field.
Pozuelo won MLS MVP honours in 2020 when he collected nine goals and 10 assists in 23 games – helping Toronto to the second-best overall record in the league during the pandemic-shortened season.
He was named to the MLS Best XI for the second straight season in 2020, leading MLS in chances created (70) and game-winning goals (5). Pozuelo was the only Toronto player to start every match that season, ranking ninth in the league in minutes played.
Pozuelo helped guide Toronto FC to the second-best overall record in the league in 2020, finishing second in the Eastern Conference behind the Philadelphia Union.
Injuries restricted him to 19 appearances in 2021 with one goal and four assists. He has four goals and five assists in 16 league outings this season.