Exclusive: Pending free agent Jonathan Osorio on his contract negotiations with Toronto FC
Jonathan Osorio has never been shy about his aspirations. If the right opportunity presents itself, he sees himself one day playing abroad.
“I’ve said it for years. If the right situation came, I always dreamed of as a kid to go to Europe to go abroad and to test myself. That hasn’t changed,” said Osorio, at the team’s year-end media availability in November. “At the same time, I know that this is a business. The right situation has to happen for both sides. I just hope that whatever happens that what I want is taken into account.”
Despite Osorio’s wishes, the right opportunity for both the club and player obviously did not present itself this past January, like it did for his good friend Richie Laryea, who was sold by Toronto to Nottingham Forest in England for $1 million.
But now, the ball is in the Canadian international’s court, as Osorio will be out of contract at the end of this season, free to sign anywhere on his own terms — including abroad.
That doesn’t mean Toronto FC won’t try and get a new deal done with its franchise leader in appearances made, but according to Osorio, those negotiations have yet to begin.
“They haven’t really started I would say,” said Osorio at the BMO Training Ground on Thursday. “Of course, you know with the club there’s a lot of other stuff going on right now with the new team and everything. But yeah, nothing crazy has started as far as talks [regarding] my contract.”
According to the MLS Players' Association, Osorio made $876,250 in guaranteed compensation in 2021, and with the Reds picking up his contract option this offseason, it's likely that number will be even higher in 2022.
Osorio has made it abundantly clear that as long as he’s here in Toronto, the club knows that he’ll give his 100 per cent.
But with the national team on the verge of qualifying for the country’s first World Cup since 1986 and how increasingly difficult it is becoming to earn a place on the squad, the Brampton, Ontario native has also expressed his desire to challenge himself at a higher level.
“I can never close doors to nothing,” said Osorio. “Everything is open for me, and I’m just focused on doing good for this club right now while I’m here, when I’m here, and you know with the national team as well, so we’ll see.
“I’m just trying to be patient and focused on now and whatever happens between now and the end of the season happens, and I’ll see what the options are.”
Entering this weekend’s match against D.C. United at BMO Field, the 29-year-old midfielder is five appearances shy of 300 for his Toronto FC career. He has been part of the TFC system since 2012, and he’s represented — and been a trailblazer — for the club in a way no player has before.
"I’m trying to have the best career I can,” Osorio said at the end of last season. “I’ll always represent Toronto, this city and this club, whether I am here or I am not here.”
Could 2022 be Osorio's last in a Toronto FC shirt? All options are on the table.