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TFC signs German star Frings and Dutch striker Koevermans

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Torsten Frings
Jurgen Klinsmann’s biggest contribution to Toronto FC came to light today.

German national team star Torsten Frings, long regarded as one of the top midfielders in the Bundesliga, the anchor of the Werder Bremen side, was announced as one of TFC’s two new Designated Players. He and Dutch striker Danny Koevermans will be eligible to play for the Reds as of July 15.

Because they join the club at the halfway mark of the season, each will cost TFC only half of the US$335,000 cap hit for a Designated Player. The team also reaches its maximum of three DPs, with Julian de Guzman still in the fold.

But, even though Koevermans scored 34 career goals in less than 100 games for PSV Eindhoven, Frings is the clear star of the deal. For two World Cup cycles, he was an automatic member of the German team’s starting XI. He is easily the biggest celebrity name to come to the club.

Frings said Klinsmann, who coached him at the 2006 World Cup, called him and convinced him to join the Aron Winter revolution at TFC. Klinsmann was brought in late last year to advise TFC on how to rebuild the club in the wake of the ill-tempered, poor soccer the club displayed under Preki last season.

Winter, the team’s technical director and coach, said both offer intangibles as well as skill.

“I needed some players with some very special skills, but also players with other qualities I was missing.” said Winter during Wednesday’s press conference ahead of the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

With the leadership qualities each player possesses, Winter said he feels that he now has a midfield general and someone who can lead the attack. He said he is still looking for a player to lead the back line but, because of the lack of international slots, that a solution would likely have to be a Canadian or American player.

And, where does this leave Alan Gordon, TFC’s leading scorer this season? With Koevermans the choice as the new centre forward, Gordon likely moves to a spot on the bench.

Winter said he had discussion with lost of potential DPs from the moment he got to the club in early 2011; but he wanted those players to buy into his 4-3-3 philosophy and the job of rebuilding TFC, not a player looking to cash a big cheque at the end of his career.

“They have to want to be part of the rebuilding process… I had discussions with a lot of DPs but, in the end, I said no. The DP has got to fit into the system.”

Winter said he was also amused by the explosion of rumours that the presser was called to announce that he would be stepping down as TFC coach. After a couple of reports appeared that stated he would pull himself from the bench, leaving Bob de Klerk in charge of the first team, the Twitterverse picked up the speculation and, as Twitter tends to do, ran.

“All those things were funny,” Winter said.

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