Transaction tracker: Richie Laryea returns to Toronto FC

TFC have agreed to terms on a transfer fee for Richie Laryea and has signed him through 2026 with an option for 2027.

Transaction tracker: Richie Laryea returns to Toronto FC
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The transaction tracker at TFC Republic is a special feature where we will list all the roster additions and cuts, trades, signings and re-signings, and transfers made by Toronto FC, and examine what each move means for the club moving forward. 

It's a great way to keep tabs on what Toronto FC is doing and how it's building its roster, as we look at each transaction in a bit of detail. To view the full transaction tracker, click on the link below: 

Toronto FC transaction tracker
The transaction tracker at TFC Republic is a special feature where we will list all of the roster moves made by Toronto FC.

Feb. 23, 2024: Reds land Laryea from Nottingham Forest 

Toronto FC has agreed to terms on a transfer fee with English Premier League side Nottingham Forest FC for defender Richie Laryea. The Reds have signed the Canadian international through 2026 with an option for 2027.  According to Chris Wheatley of NationalWorld, the transfer is worth $750,000 US plus bonuses.

Quick analysis: Toronto FC was pretty quiet through this off-season as its only roster additions were Deybi Flores, top draft pick Tyrese Spicer and centre back Kevin Long. 

The return of Laryea represents TFC's biggest move of the off-season as they have welcomed back one of their best players in recent years. 

"I am excited to officially welcome Richie back to Toronto FC... Knowing his skills, character, talent, and dedication from our time together on the national stage, I am confident his presence will be pivotal in our quest for success this season," John Herdman said in a media release 

Laryea originally left TFC to join Nottingham Forest via transfer on January 8, 2022. In all, he made just five appearances for Forest during his six months with the club. 

Prior to his move to England, Laryea played three seasons (2019, 2020 and 2021) with Toronto after signing as a free agent on March 21, 2019. Laryea made 83 appearances across all competitions for the Reds, recording nine goals and adding 12 assists. He was a key member of the TFC side that reached the MLS Cup final in 2019 and he also helped the Reds finish with the second-best record the following season. 

Laryea, 29, now returns to his hometown after recently going on a short loan spell with the Vancouver Whitecaps during the 2023 season where he made 14 appearances across all competitions and registered one goal and three assists. Laryea also featured for TFC during another loan spell from 2022 to 2023, scoring two goals and adding seven assists through 29 appearances.  

This is a big move for a Toronto side that is coming off its worst ever MLS campaign and was in desperate need of quality players with the start of the 2024 season right around the corner. 

Quick, athletic and able to bomb down the wing, Laryea is a dynamic player who can make things happen in the final third and provide the attack with plenty of dangerous width. During his loan spell with TFC he formed an effective partnership with Federico Bernardeschi down the right side and the club will be hoping they can rekindle their magic this season. 

Laryea gives Herdman plenty of options as he can play on both sides, and either as a fullback, winger, or wingback. He also filled in at the centre back spot during his loan spell with TFC under Bob Bradley. Notably, Toronto hasn't drawn a penalty in 36 competitive games. That should change with Laryea back in the squad as the Canadian international is known for driving into the penalty area and drawing fouls from opposing defenders. 

It'll be interesting to see how Herdman deploys Laryea – whether it'll be as wingback or winger starting higher up the pitch, or as a fullback in a back four. It'll largely depend on the formation that Herdman uses, but either way, he has a very dangerous asset in Laryea. 

His return will also likely mean fewer minutes for fellow right-sided player Kobe Franklin, who was TFC's breakout player last year when he logged 2,172 minutes in his first full MLS season. Laryea's return could also mean fewer playing opportunities for Spicer. 

Bringing back Laryea doesn't address one of TFC's many positional needs. But there's no question that the club will be much better with him in the starting 11 as he should help the club increase its goal total from last season when it scored just 26 times (tied for the worst in MLS).

(Top photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)

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