Toronto FC announced Thursday that the club has signed Dutch international defender Gregory van der Wiel after reaching a transfer agreement with Italian Serie A club Cagliari Calcio S.p.A. (Cagliari). Van der Wiel was acquired by TFC with Targeted Allocation Money and will be added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and his Canadian work permit.
“We are excited to bring Gregory van der Wiel to Toronto FC. He is an experienced player that has played with some big clubs in Europe and has represented his country at multiple international tournaments,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Gregory has a great defensive sense and will provide an upside on the ball with his strong distribution when in the attacking third. He will be a welcomed addition to our club as we continue to strive to improve as a team.”
Van der Wiel, 29, most recently spent time with Cagliari where he made six appearances across all competitions. Van der Wiel began his youth career in Amsterdam with his hometown club Ajax in 1996. He joined Ajax’s first team and made his professional debut on March 11, 2007. In seven seasons with Ajax, van der Wiel made 191 appearances scoring 12 goals and adding 17 assists in all competitions (league and cup matches, including the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Cup). At the conclusion of the 2009–10 season, van der Wiel was awarded the Johan Cruijff Award for Young Player of the Year. He also helped Ajax capture two Eredivisie league titles, two KNVB Cups and one Johan Cruijff Shield.
Following his time at Ajax, van der Wiel moved to French side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) of Ligue 1 in September 2012. In four seasons with PSG, he made 132 appearances, scoring four goals and adding 22 assists in all competitions. Included in those appearances were 26 matches in the UEFA Champions League, where he registered eight assists and helped PSG reach four consecutive UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. With PSG, van der Wiel won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles (2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16), back-to-back Coupe de France titles (2014–15, 2015–16), three consecutive Coupe de la Ligue (2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16) and the Trophée des Champions on three occasions (2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16).
Van der Wiel signed with Turkish club Fenerbahçe after his contract expired with PSG at the end of the 2016 season. He made 17 appearances registering one assist in all competitions. He left Fenerbahçe after one season to join Cagliari.
Van der Wiel has earned 46 caps for the Dutch National team, with his first appearance coming on February 11, 2009, when he appeared as a substitute in a friendly against Tunisia. His first competitive appearance for the Netherlands came on March 28, 2009 in a 3-0 victory over Scotland in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier. Van der Wiel was a starter for the Dutch team that finished as runners up to Spain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He was also part of the UEFA Euro 2012 squad.
TRANSACTION: Toronto FC sign defender Gregory van der Wiel
GREGORY VAN DER WIEL
Height: 6’0 (183 cm)
Weight: 158 lbs (72 kg)
Birthdate: February 3, 1988
Birth Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Last Club: Cagliari Calcio S.p.A.