How new Toronto FC signing Mark-Anthony Kaye will fit in
Toronto continues their top-end roster overhaul as they acquired 27-year old midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye in a trade with the Colorado Rapids at the end of last week.
Toronto is sending Colorado: Midfielder Ralph Priso, $1m in general allocation money (GAM), one international roster spot, and Toronto's 2023 1st round draft pick in the MLS Superdraft (according to MLSsoccer.com).
So far this season, Kaye has three goals with an assist across 1,286 minutes. He has played in 17 matches total with 15 starts and two sub appearances. He is completing 81.6% of his passes on the year, has made 11 key passes, and has played 29 accurate long balls. Defensively, he has won 66.7% of his headed duels this season and has also made 21 interceptions. He is valued at $5.50m on Transfermarkt.
Kaye is returning to Toronto, where he is originally from and began his career. Kaye played in the Toronto Youth Academy before playing with Toronto FC II. He then made his way to Louisville City of the USL before eventually heading to LAFC for their inaugural season in 2018. He was traded almost exactly a year ago from LAFC to Colorado.
Toronto FC signed Mark-Anthony Kaye from the Colorado Rapids
Kaye is a former MLS all-star, as he earned those honors while with LAFC in 2019 (while helping LAFC to the Supporters Shield title that season). Kaye scored four goals with eight assists that season, while completing 83.9% of his passes, and making 43 key passes.
Kaye has become one of the best central midfielders/'#8s' in the league. He is an all-star caliber player and should provide a big boost to the Toronto midfield. As Toronto continues to makeover the top of their roster, they'll need to improve both offensively and defensively (with the defense being the bigger issue). Toronto has the 26th ranked defense this season in terms of goals allowed. They're also tied for 11th in the league in goals scored. Toronto is also 19th in the league in passing % (80.3%), which is an area that Kaye should help with. Kaye should help the team in all three of those phases.
Kaye has also been a consistent player with the Canadian national team, where he has two goals in 35 matches. He's appeared in 21 matches for Canada since the start of 2021.
Losing Priso is likely the most costly part of what Toronto is giving up. Priso is just 19 years old and seemingly has a bright future ahead of him. He has scored one goal this season for Toronto across 274 minutes (four starts and six substitute appearances). He was a homegrown signing for the club a couple of years ago after coming up through the Academy. . Priso is valued at $1.10m on Transfermarkt.
While losing Priso and the draft pick could be costly, this is a win-now move for Toronto. Kaye will help the club make a push towards the playoffs (Toronto is currently seven points below the playoff line with 15 matches to play) which is the usual expectation for a club the caliber of Toronto.
Another way of looking at the move is from a value perspective. While some of this is subjective (and depends on exactly how you view the conversion rate of GAM to USD), it seems to be a plus trade for Toronto. A first round draft pick in the Superdraft is usually worth somewhere around $100k (or less) in allocation money. The current going rate for an international roster spot is somewhere around $200k per slot (Atlanta United just acquired two international roster spots for $350k in GAM and a third round draft pick according to a club release).
Looking at it that way, Toronto traded away roughly $2.4m in value to receive a player worth $5.5m. Again, this isn't a perfect comparison method because it's difficult to correlate GAM to dollars, but it gives you a perspective of the player that Toronto is getting.
This trade comes just days after Toronto traded away Designated Player Alejandro Pozuelo to Inter Miami (for $150k in GAM), and it comes as the club has been heavily linked to Italian Winger/Midfielder Federico Bernardeschi from Juventus. Lorenzo Insigne has also now joined the club after signing a pre-contract with Toronto back in the winter. Adding Insigne, Kaye, and Bernardeschi to the squad all within a short time would be a major talent boost for Toronto.
I really like this move for Toronto looking at it at the moment. Only time will tell how much losing Priso hurts Toronto, but in terms of for this season, adding Kaye should help Toronto a lot. Plus, it's not as if Kaye is on the downturn of his career. He's still 27, so it's more than reasonable to expect that he still has at least several quality seasons of soccer left to give.