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Brazil's Santos FC said goodbye to Yeferson Soteldo on Saturday, saying it had sold the Venezuelan international winger to Toronto FC.
While Santos confirmed the sale in a news release, Toronto did not immediately confirm the signing. But several sources said Major League Soccer and TFC finalized the transfer deal with Santos on Friday night for the 23-year-old.
One source said personal terms with the player had yet to be concluded, although that was expected to follow.
The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the acquisition had not been made public yet.
The five-foot-three Soteldo wore the same No. 10 that Brazilian legend Pele had at Santos.
An elusive winger who likes to take on defenders and befuddle them with his moves, Soteldo can make goals and score them. He had 20 goals in 104 games for Santos.
He was named to the 2020 Copa Libertadores team of the tournament — along with the likes of Carlos Tevez of Boca Juniors — as Santos made it to the final before losing 1-0 to Brazilian rival Palmeiras.
River Plate forward Rafael Santos Borre, an earlier transfer target of TFC, was also named to the team of the tournament.
Soteldo joins striker Jozy Altidore and Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo as Toronto's designated players.
He fills the DP spot left by Argentina's Pablo Piatti, whose option was not picked up by the MLS club after last season.
The winger made his first-team debut with Venezuela's Zamora FC in September 2013 when he was 16. He moved to Chile's Huachipato in December 2016 and went on to spend 2018 with Universidad de Chile on loan.
In January 2018, he was transferred to Santos. The Brazilian club said Huachipato will receive a portion of the MLS transfer fee.
A former Venezuelan youth international, Soteldo has 17 caps and one goal with the senior side.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2021
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press