Chris Mavinga's time with Toronto FC seems to have come to an end, with reports indicating the defender is set to reunite with former Reds manager Greg Vanney in Los Angeles with the Galaxy.
As we wrote a few days ago, Toronto FC have been in negotiations with Chris Mavinga to bring him back for the 2023 season. However, it now seems these talks will not come to fruition.
As per MLS Insider Tom Bogert, Mavinga is set to sign for the Los Angeles Galaxy. As a result, one of the top free agents will come off the market.
Pending official confirmation, this is a big blow to TFC, who are still looking to strengthen their back line. As much as Mavinga was part of the defence's struggles last season, his form was severely compromised by injuries and off-field personal issues.
Impressive overall tenure in Toronto
The Reds had declined the 31-year-old's contract option for 2023, but were hoping to re-sign him for less than the $1 million base salary he received last year. (Overall, he earned $1.0375 million in guaranteed compensation.) The overriding sentiment was he would bounce back and return to form as one of the better centre-backs in MLS.
In this respect, Mavinga was a key component of the Toronto FC team which won a historic domestic treble in 2017. In an interesting twist he will now rejoin Greg Vanney, who was TFC manager at the time.
Overall, the Meaux, France native made 153 appearances during six year in Southern Ontario, including 124 in the regular season and 10 in the MLS playoffs. Prior to his time with the Reds, he was on the books of the likes of Liverpool, Rennes and Rubin Kazan.
Some would argue that maybe it is for the best that Mavinga is moving on. Back in October last year, he posted some cryptic messages on Twitter about Toronto FC.
As per Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun, the former DR Congo international said if anyone wanted a one-on-one interview with him, his direct messages were open. At the time, he also tweeted that the Reds were going to fall with him.
To be fair to Mavinga, he did add at the time that he likes the club and maybe the tweets were linked to the family issues he was going through. In any event it all came to nothing, but sometimes a fresh start is best for everyone involved.
Regardless, as things stand, Matt Hedges is projected to be one of the starting centre-backs for Toronto FC. He will likely be partnered by Shane O'Neill or Lukas MacNaughton, with cover being provided by Luke Singh.
Of course TFC could still look to add other centre-backs to fortify the position. Regardless, Mavinga's talent and experience will be missed in Toronto.
What do you remember most about Mavinga's time with Toronto FC? In respect of the defence more generally, do you expect it to improve in 2023? Let us know in the comments section below.