Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC's Pursuit of Spanish Midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo Nears Crunch Time

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC's Pursuit of Spanish Midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo Nears Crunch Time

Article excerpt

TFC pursuit of Pozuelo nears crunch time

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Toronto FC's pursuit of Spanish attacking midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo is nearing crunch time.

Toronto general manager Ali Curtis and president Bill Manning are back from Belgium after holding talks with Pozuelo's club, KRC Genk. Curtis returned Saturday while Manning returned Tuesday after meeting twice with Peter Croonen, his Genk counterpart, during a whirlwind one-day trip.

"I thought our talks made progress," Manning said in an interview Saturday. "He's going to have some further discussion with his board and we're going to continue to talk with him over the weekend and then see if we can come to a place that they can live with and that we can live with."

The 27-year-old Pozuelo apparently is keen on a move to Toronto. But the stumbling block appears to be the release clause in his contract and when, if triggered, it kicks in.

Genk, which tops the Belgium league table, does not want to give him up immediately. Toronto, in need of offence after the departure of Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco and Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez, is not willing to wait.

The MLS transfer window closes in May 7. "We certainly don't want to wait that long," said Manning.

"(Croonen) knows our position is we can't wait forever and we know his position which we respect," he added. "I think on Monday we're going to all have clarity and then move on, either with an agreement or without an agreement."

Toronto opens its MLS season March 2 in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, it looks to revive its Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League campaign after losing 4-0 in Panama to Club Atletico Independiente de la Chorrera in the opening leg of a round-of-16 tie.

The Seville-born Pozuelo has also played for Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano in Spain and Swansea City in the English Premier League. Manning said TFC has been tracking Pozuelo, who would be a designated player in MLS, for more than a year. …

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