Last season, Toronto FC took their game to another level with the signing of La Masia product Victor Vazquez. The 31-year-old Spanish midfielder was named to the 2017 MLS Best XI while adding a degree of quality and composure rarely seen in MLS. Now, according to Goal, TFC is embarking on the 2018 season in a similar vein with the signing of Lezama product (Athletic Bilbao's famed academy) Ager Aketxe.
The 24-year-old is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder and winger, and, like Vazquez before him, he was raised in a system that put an emphasis on technical quality and mental composure. The cantera of Athletic Bilbao is renowned throughout the world, and Aketxe joined the system as a 10-year-old.
He played for the club’s feeder team, CD Basconia, in the Tercera Division before making the jump to the reserves, Athletic Bilbao B, in the Segunda Division. His journey to the top was completed in September of 2014, when he made his La Liga debut as a 20-year-old.
Yeah, TFC have landed a pretty special player (who actually canceled his existing contract to join them) if the reports are true.
However, since making the breakthrough with Athletic, a combination of injuries and fluctuations of form saw him bounce between the reserves and the first team. At the end of the 2015-16 campaign, he suffered a serious knee injury that kept him sidelined until January of 2017.
He was loaned out to Cadiz in the Segunda Division for the second half of the season, where he had a respectable return of four goals and two assists in 16 matches.
But Aketxe began looking for a change having only made 12 appearances this season in all competitions, including just 34 total minutes of La Liga action.
Regardless, TFC are getting a young attacker who played for Spain at the U-20 level and who’s consistently excelled in the Spanish second division.
According to reports, Aketxe has signed a two-year deal with Athletic Bilbao retaining a buy-back option.