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Toronto FC loses out on Argentine forward, looks to Bolton big man Kevin Davies

04/23/2013 01:59 EDT | Updated 06/23/2013 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Toronto FC has ended its pursuit of Argentine forward Maximiliano Urruti.

"Urruti is not coming," Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen told reporters after practice Tuesday. "That's finished now."

But Nelsen says an announcement is expected soon on another Argentine. The MLS club has not identified who that is but a source confirmed it is Argentinos Juniors midfielder Matias Laba.

Urruti has been linked with Toronto for some six weeks but club officials appeared to have been frustrated in their dealings with his Newell's Old Boys side, which is undergoing financial issues.

Nelsen also confirmed interest in veteran Bolton Wanderers forward Kevin Davies.

British reports have linked the 36-year-old Davies to Toronto, although he likely has other options.

"He beat me up several times when I played against him," said Nelsen, who is friends with Davies. "I'm pretty sure most MLS coaches would love to have a guy like Kevin Davies around."

England's Sky Sports reported that Davies, who has not been offered a new contract by Bolton, has already held talks with Toronto.

Asked if he had spoken to Davies, Nelsen replied: "I speak to him all the time. He's a really good guy. I'm actually quite good friends with a few other guys from Bolton so I speak to them quite often."

Toronto has been looking for help up front, where Robert Earnshaw has been carrying the load with help from Justin Braun in the absence of star striker Danny Koevermans, who is expected to return in June from knee surgery.

Andrew Wiedeman is an option off the bench.

Davies, who has one England cap, joined Bolton in 2003 on a free transfer from Southampton. He has made more than 400 appearances for Bolton but has been left out of the lineup recently.

Blackburn spent 7.5 million pounds on him in 1998.

While Toronto has made great use of Nelsen's British connections in signing the likes of Earnshaw, Hogan Ephraim, John Bostock and Darel Russell, the club has also looked to mine talent in South America.

Toronto spent considerable time and effort scouting in Argentina with chief scout Pat Onstad and assistant coach Fran O'Leary both spending time there. Onstad has made repeated visits.

"It is lost time but there's always lost time when you chase targets," Nelsen said of the failed bid for Urruti. "You have to chase 10 to get potentially just one. Sometimes it's even more. These things happen in football. It's infuriating, it's frustrating, of course. But to grab the one you want, you've got to go after 10, 15, 20.

"What I was surprised when I first came here was there was just nothing — no scouting, no nothing. It was scary so we had to start our own database, our own scouting networks, our own player recruitment.

"So the whiteboard's starting to look a bit busier with names now. So when one falls off, another one will hopefully take its place."

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