Toronto announce former Premier League midfielder Pozuelo as third designated player

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The Spanish playmaker will join the MLS side when the Belgian top flight regular season ends in mid March

Toronto FC have announced the signing of Spanish midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo from Belgian side KRC Genk.

Terms of Pozuelo’s transfer and contract were not disclosed beyond that he becomes their third designated player, after Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.

However, reports have put the transfer fee as high as $11 million (£9m), with Pozuelo set to join Toronto after the close of the Belgian top-flight regular season, March 18.

“Alejandro is an excellent player that has the ability to both create and score goals,” Toronto FC General Manager Ali Curtis said in a statement. “He is the best player on the best team in Belgium’s top division.

“Obviously, and for so many reasons, we would like him to join us now, but we look forward to his arrival on March 18. We are very excited for the 2019 season and adding another important piece to a group that already has a lot of quality only makes us stronger.”

As part of the transfer agreement, Pozuelo will join after the close of the Belgian regular season. However, he will depart first-place Genk before the start of the Championship Round, which was reportedly a source of contention in negotiations.

Had Pozuelo played the entirety of the Championship Round, he would have just missed out on being able to join Toronto in MLS’ primary transfer window, and could not have been added to the roster until July.

A product of Real Betis’ youth system, Pozuelo played 27 games with the club in La Liga before moving to Swansea in the summer of 2013. He would feature 22 times in the Premier League in the subsequent season, making seven starts, but returned to Spain with Rayo Vallecano after just one campaign.

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After one year with Vallecano, Pozuelo joined Genk, where he has spent past five seasons, racking up 25 goals and 60 assists across all competitions for the club. He has contributed five goals this season, and was club captain as Genk sit top of the table by six points over Club Brugge.

Pozuelo fills the designated player slot in Toronto left behind when Sebastian Giovinco was sold to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal and will look to fill some of the playmaking void created by the departures of the Italian and Victory Vazquez. 

It continues a busy few weeks for Toronto, who signed Altidore to a new contract through 2022 last week and opened up their 2019 MLS season with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union this past weekend.

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