Sources: Toronto FC to trade Alejandro Pozuelo to Inter Miami, sign Italian international Federico Bernardeschi
Alejandro Pozuelo just appeared in his 100th match for Toronto FC in all competitions on Saturday – and it appears it will be his last.
According to multiple sources, Toronto FC are trading Pozuelo to Inter Miami CF. The deal is expected to be announced on Thursday when the MLS secondary transfer window officially opens. TFC are reportedly receiving just $150,000 in General Allocation Money from Miami, but for Toronto, the move is about freeing up a designated player spot.
And that’s huge for the club because Toronto FC have agreed to sign Italian international Federico Bernardeschi as a designated player on a free contract, per sources. The 28-year-old former Juventus winger is out of contract and has agreed to join fellow Italians Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Criscito in Toronto.
Pozuelo never quite fit under new TFC manager Bob Bradley. The 30-year-old midfielder, who was named MLS MVP in 2020, was out of place in Bradley’s preferred 4-3-3 formation. Pozuelo’s desire was to operate as No. 10 in the middle of the park, while Bradley wanted his midfielders to play quicker through the middle – without a central attacking midfielder.
Often times Pozuelo started matches on the right wing, but would drift inside freely, leaving TFC exposed defensively down their right flank. That didn’t sit too kindly with Bradley, who was never afraid to voice his frustration with media when discussing the TFC designated player.
“We do everything to give [Pozuelo] the chance to be the guy who is the chance creator,” Bradley told media after TFC’s 2-0 loss to Seattle on Saturday. “We change the way we play. We try to be fluid defensively. We allow him complete freedom. So yeah, of course he's going to create some chances. I mean, he's still a player that when the ball is at his feet and he's got an opportunity to slip a past or clip a pass or sometimes make a little dribble, that's still what he brings to a team.
“It would be a long discussion about when a player has that much freedom what it means in other moments and what it means when you lose balls, and that's not for tonight.”
In 100 appearances for TFC, Pozuelo scored 29 goals and added 26 assists, but TFC should have no problem replacing his production with the arrivals of Insigne and Bernardeschi. By bringing in Bernardeschi, not only does Toronto add a fellow Italian into their already growing contingent, but it gives Bradley a natural winger to deploy down the right-hand side in his desired 4-3-3 formation.
Bernardeschi struggled with Juventus last season, scoring just twice in 36 appearances in all competitions. The winger joined the Old Lady in July 2017, signing from Fiorentina in a deal worth €40 million. In five seasons since, Bernardeschi has made 183 appearances, scoring 12 times and adding 24 assists.
Furthermore, I believe that Toronto FC aren’t done this transfer window. There’s a real possibility that the Reds could free up another designated player spot at some point this summer, as Carlos Salcedo may be forced to return to Mexico to attend to a family emergency. If he does leave TFC, he would go back to his former club Tigres UANL – not because of his performance with Toronto, but to return home to his family.
The Mexican international centre back joined TFC this offseason but has been in and out of the lineup due to various reasons. I’ll finish this off by adding I don’t believe Toronto FC are done with Italy.
Buckle up TFC fans. This summer is going to be wild.