Toronto FC announced this morning that they had signed Dutch international Gregory van der Wiel after reaching an agreement with Cagliari Calcio S.p.A.. The defender was acquired with Targeted Allocation Money and will join the team upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and his Canadian work permit.
Toronto welcome van der Wiel's addition to the team
Tim Bezbatchenko, Senior Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager, spoke to the club's official website on the news of the signing. Bezbatchenko stated that the club brought in van der Wiel as he was an "experienced player" who had played for big teams in Europe and had represented his country at various tournaments. Bezbatchenko also commented that van der Wiel has "great defensive sense" and could potentially "provide an upside on the ball with his strong distribution when in the attacking third".
Van der Wiel will certainly bring a great attacking threat if Greg Vanney stays with the 3-5-2 formation that proved so fruitful for the current MLS Cup winners last season. Although Steven Beitashour was immense at the right wing back position when available, Toronto seem to think that not only can van der Wiel provide depth in that position but he could challenge Beitashour and push Toronto to be an even better team this season.
Van der Wiel's career so far
Gregory van der Wiel started out his professional career with AFC Ajax after progressing through the youth system at the club. He made his first team debut in 2007 and then proceeded to spend seven seasons with the team. During his time at Ajax, van der Wiel made 191 appearances, scoring 12 goals and providing 17 assists in all competitions. His performances at Ajax earned him a move to French side Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 where he spent four seasons. While at PSG, he made 132 appearances, scoring four goals and providing 22 assists in all competitions. Fenerbahçe S.K. was van der Wiel's next stop in his career after his contract with PSG expired at the end of the 2016 season. The defender made 17 appearances for the Turkish side but failed to find the back of the net and only managed one assist in all competitions. After one season, van der Wiel moved on to Cagliari where he made six appearances across all competitions.
For the Netherlands, van der Wiel as earned 46 caps, after earning his first one in 2009. The 29 year-old was a starter for the team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was part of the roster for UEFA Euro 2012.
Quotes via Torontofc.com