Toronto FC Add Defensive Depth With Signing Of Moroccan International Ahmed Kantari
Photo via torontofc.ca

Tim Bezbatchenko and Toronto FC have looked to France for reinforcements and depth yet again. The MLS club announced the signing of French-born Moroccan centre back Ahmed Kantari early Friday afternoon.

Kantari, 30, has spent his 10-year professional career playing in France, most notably coming up through the Paris Saint-Germain youth ranks and being a registered member of the 2005-06 first team squad, despite not making an appearance.

Most recently, Kantari played for RC Lens from 2013-15 who were relegated to Ligue 2 from Ligue 1 this past season.

“We are pleased to add both an experienced and natural leader to our defensive group with the signing of Ahmed Kantari,” Bezbatchenko, general manager of TFC, said in a news release.

“He is someone that possesses many attributes we like as a centre-back but also as a person. We feel he will be a great addition here at Toronto FC.”

Kantari represents Morocco on the international stage and has earned 16 caps for the African nation. However, he has not made an appearance since June of 2013 in a World Cup qualifying match.

Kantari should have an easy time transitioning into the Toronto squad with two Frenchmen waiting to welcome him. Midfielder Benoit Cheyrou spent seven seasons with PSG’s rivals Marseille and fellow centre back Damien Perquis who plays for Poland internationally. TFC head coach Greg Vanney also has a French connection, having played for SC Bastia from 2002-05.

The signing comes as no surprise after former club captain Steven Caldwell announced his retirement earlier in the month. TFC have struggled with defensive stability since their expansion and will hope Perquis and Kantari can build a solid foundation at the back.

It is expected this won’t be TFC’s last defensive signing before the summer transfer window shuts. With the continued absence of full back Mark Bloom through injury and the struggling play of Warren Creavalle switching from midfield and the right back position, Bezbatchenko is said to still be on the look out for additions to the squad that can help the team clinch their first playoff berth in franchise history.

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