De la Torre added that there has been interest from teams throughout Europe, including the Netherlands, Germany and France. His current contract expires in June of 2023.
“There’s always been an agreement between myself and the club that I would transfer this summer, with one year left on the contract,” he said ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF Nations League game against Grenada in Austin, Texas. “I expect [the transfer] to happen, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
De la Torre made it clear that he’s grateful for the time he spent with the club. When he arrived in 2020 from Fulham FC, both Heracles and de la Torre were making a leap of faith. He had logged a total of just 14 first team appearances over four seasons with the Cottagers.
The timing was difficult as well, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full force. He added that he had to take a 60% pay cut to make the move. But with Heracles, de la Torre was a consistent starter in the center of midfield, making a total of 67 league and cup appearances.
“Footballing-wise, looking back, it really paid off. It was a really great move for me,” he told ESPN via telephone. “I played a lot of minutes in a really good league, and I put myself back into the picture for the national team, which was the whole point of making that move in my career.”
De la Torre’s spell there ended on a sour note as Heracles was relegated from the Eredivisie. The club won just once in its last six games, putting it in the relegation playoffs, where it fell to Excelsior 6-1 on aggregate.
“It hurt a lot. I feel for the fans and my teammates,” he said. “They were really good to me during my time there, and I hope that with the money that they make from my transfer, and other sales, they can really rebuild the team and make a strong push for promotion.”
De la Torre added that the agreement to move was independent of the team’s relegation. That said, he found a sympathetic ear in USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter, who as a player endured his own relegation with Dutch side SC Cambuur during the 1999-2000 season.
“[Berhalter] understands what it’s like,” said de la Torre. “It’s kind of at the end of the season. You just played a lot of games, and then you have to play against a team that’s been winning games the whole season. It kind of feels like things are falling apart, so he understands how difficult that situation is.”
The tough ending didn’t do de la Torre’s international prospects much, if any, harm. Following an increased role during the latter part of World Cup qualifying, he came off the bench twice in friendlies against Morocco and Uruguay. He’s expected to log more minutes against Grenada as he pushes for a spot on the final World Cup roster.
“I know that national coaching staff was impressed with how consistent I was through it, in my performances, so that’s a good feeling that they noticed that,” he said. “And that’s something I’m proud of too. Even though it wasn’t an ideal team situation, personally, I still tried to do everything I could.”