Inter Miami acquires former MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo
Inter Miami has added a former MLS MVP as they picked up Alejandro Pozuelo in a trade with Toronto FC this week. Miami is sending $150k in General Allocation Money (GAM) up north to Toronto. And in return, Miami will add a potentially much-needed boost to their squad in the 30-year-old midfielder who is just two seasons removed from being league MVP.
Pozuelo will occupy a Designated Player slot for Miami, joining Gonzalo Higuain and Rodolfo Pizarro (who is on loan, but yes, he does still technically count as a DP according to MLSsoccer.com, although it's unlikely he plays for Miami again) in those roles. Which means that Miami is now back up to the max number of 3 DPs.
So far this season for Toronto, Pozuelo has scored four goals and has added five assists. He has also completed 83.5% of his passes and has made 31 key passes (which is 14th in the league).
Pozuelo is currently valued at $8.80m on Transfermarkt, which makes him a great value as an addition for just 150K in GAM. Pozuelo is now the most valuable player on Miami's roster and is tied for the ninth most valuable player in MLS (both also according to Transfermarkt).
Inter Miami Acquires Midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo from Toronto FC
As a player, Pozuelo is an attacking midfielder. He will likely slot into that role for Miami, playing centrally. He is a dynamic player in the middle who should help the Herons' attack going forward.
Pozuelo won MLS MVP in 2020 when he scored nine goals along with ten assists across 23 matches as Toronto finished second in the East. He also completed 84.9% of his passes that season and added 61 key passes. He also completed 72 long balls that season. He isn't putting up that caliber of numbers this season (and also struggled some last season), but he can still be a difference maker.
You might ask yourself, why would Toronto make this trade? Well, Toronto is in the midst of remaking their roster starting at the top, and frankly they needed to open up a DP spot and clear salary. Toronto previously signed star Italian winger Lorenzo Insigne as their third DP to a pre-contract back in the winter and he's now recently joined the team.
Toronto is now reportedly set on adding another Italian in 31-year old midfielder Federico Bernardeschi. Toronto didn't have much leverage in the situation, with most of the league knowing that they want Bernardeschi and needed to move Pozuelo. Miami is the team that took advantage of the situation by taking on Pozuelo.
It is also worth noting that Miami could send more allocation money to Toronto in the deal based on certain performance based incentives, but Miami would likely be more than willing to pay any extra money if Pozuelo plays well and helps the team.
Miami has had a complicated history with DPs. Look no further than Higuain, who has been in and out of the lineup this season and currently has just two goals and one assist across 587 minutes (12 appearances/six starts). However, Pozuelo already has a track record of producing in MLS and at 30 years old, seemingly still has quality soccer in front of him.
This is arguably a safer move than some of the other DP moves that Miami has made. (Also for what it's worth, I believe there's a more than solid chance that Miami moves on from Higuain and Pizarro at season's end to open up two DP slots with a big 2023 in mind).
Looking back at Pozuelo's career: He is a former Swansea City player, but he made his name in Europe during his successful tenure with Belgian side Genk. It was from there that he made his move to Toronto in 2019.
Miami currently sits tied for ninth in the East, but they're in a tight grouping and can move upwards quickly. They're just three points out of fifth. The grouping of 5th-11th in the Eastern Conference is very tight (separated by just five points), which means those teams can shuffle around quickly.
Even if he isn't the player he was in 2020, Pozuelo has still been a productive player this season and should provide a boost for Miami this season. Miami is still in the playoff hunt after an up-and-down start to the season, and adding Pozuelo should help the Herons make a push towards the playoffs.