Interview with Orlando City GM Luiz Muzzi: Facundo Torres to remain with Lions; more signings incoming; Mulraney transfers out

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Premier League club Arsenal has not made recent contact with Orlando City for a possible transfer of Facundo Torres, and the Uruguayan Designated Player will remain with the Lions ahead of the start of the 2023 MLS season, club General Manager Luiz Muzzi confirmed with the Orlando Soccer Journal earlier this week. 

“No, not at all – Facundo is here, and he will be here,” Muzzi said on whether Orlando will sell Torres during the January transfer window. “If anything comes that makes sense, it’s going to be like Daryl [Dike], something that makes sense for everybody.” 

“At that point, you can’t forget you’re part of an international market, and if you don’t participate in the international market, it’s fine. But you’re not going to be able to bring players in, and you’re just not going to be part of that,” he added. “If you want to continue bringing young great international talent to this club, you need to participate in that market. But all of that said, there’s nothing new on Facundo. Facundo is an Orlando player, and he’s here.” 

Orlando paid a club-record transfer fee of $9 million to Peñarol last year in exchange for Torres’ services, which in return, paid dividends for the Lions last season. Orlando City won its first title since joining MLS in 2015 after winning the U.S. Open Cup, and they also returned to the postseason for a third consecutive year. 

All this, months after Orlando dealt Daryl Dike to West Bromwich Albion for a reported $9.5 million transfer after acquiring the forward for free in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. 

Torres, 22, produced 13 goals and 10 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions for Orlando last year. Enough to get called up to the Uruguayan World Cup roster in Qatar last November. 

The OSJ understands Orlando City turned down offers for Torres last summer, but it’s unclear which teams contacted the Lions for proposals. 

More signings incoming 

After acquiring Argentine attacker Martin Ojeda on a Designated Player deal for a reported $4 million transfer to Godoy Cruz, Muzzi confirmed more signings are likely to follow before the start of the season on Feb. 25. 

“I think that’s going to happen. There’s a very high probability that’s going to happen,” said Muzzi. “There are some rumors out there. Some are true, and some are not true. Most of them are not true, by the way. But there will be a couple of signings to make sure that we have the depth, and at the same time, we’ve got to keep a spot or two open because the season is always a big question mark, and things that can happen in the middle of the season. We need to have some flexibility to act.”

Orlando has been linked recently with Argentine attacker Ramiro Enrique, who may complement the team’s needs regarding depth.  

“We’re packed in every single position. We have two to three players in every position, and not only that, we got some guys who can play multiple positions, so we’re looking good,” said Muzzi. “We’re still probably going to add maybe a couple more players as far as that, but we’re looking good. We’re looking very, very deep right now.”  

Dealing Mulraney  

Luiz Muzzi confirmed that Orlando City is currently negotiating with Irish club St. Patrick’s Athletic to transfer out winger Jake Mulraney

“We’re working on that, seeing if there’s anything there or not,” said Muzzi. “We don’t have anything 100% done, and it’s just conversations at this point, but it may happen soon that he transfers out or if that doesn’t happen, he will be back here.” 

On Wednesday morning, the Lions officially transferred Mulraney to St. Patrick’s.

“We would like to thank Jake for all the hard work and dedication he gave to us last season,” said Muzzi in the club’s release. “Jake is a true professional in every meaning of the word and we wish him all the best moving forward.”

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