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Portland Timbers secure Diego Valeri, stability of their attack in multiyear contract

Aug 6, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT

Get use to seeing more south American players heading to MLS, as Opta's office in Uruguay will help to unearth Latin American gems (see, Diego Valeri) on the cheap. AP

Diego Valeri became Portland Timbers property on Tuesday, as the club shelled out the cash to buy his contract from Club Atlético Lanús in Argentina and sign him to a multiyear deal. He will be a Designated Player the whole time, unless his contract is renegotiated at some point to buy him down.

Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl reported on Twitter that the transfer fee was a little less than $3 million.

In just half a season in Major League Soccer, Valeri has been one of the main figureheads in Portland’s attack, alongside Akron wunderkind Darlington Nagbe and veteran Ryan Johnson. Under head coach Caleb Porter, the Timbers are in the hunt for the 2013 Supporters’ Shield after contending for the Red Lantern in their first two years.

Valeri’s four goals and eight assists make him the top scorer for the club right now, from his position in the classic No. 10 playmaking spot. He drifts all over the field from that central perch, finding gaps and picking passes to the wingers and target man.

An MLS All-Star in his first year, Valeri’s three multi-assist matches are tops in the league. He also finds plenty of his own opportunities, as he leads the team with 53 total shots.

When end-of-season voting comes around, his name should be on the ballot for Newcomer of the Year. While he may not be the most creative player on the team (that’s Nagbe) or the most vocal leader (that’s Will Johnson), Valeri has carved out a spot for himself as a central figure who leads by example.

By locking him up, the Timbers ensured that Valeri’s steady presence would be colored green and red for the foreseeable future, securing a major creative force in their attack in the process.

  1. NowWaitJustAMinute - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    I still don’t get why PTFC paid Valeri’s transfer and MLS picked up Dempsey’s. Is there a rule I’m not understanding or simply preferential treatment to returning USMNT player (allocation)?

    Both these guys are DP’s and based on the Dempsey stuff, I understood MLS said it pays transfer fees for DP’s while teams responsible for salaries?

    I’m confused trying to navigate all this and, based on Twitter chatter, I’m not the only one.

    • talgrath - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Unfortunately, MLS does not announce transactions as a general rule, it’s possible Wahl’s information is incorrect but unless MLS clarifies it, we won’t know for certain. Wahl is usually fairly reliable for information, but then again he has been wrong before.

    • packinblackandred - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      My understanding is that MLS can decide (confirmed by a vote by team owners) to pay for DP transfer fees if they feel that doing so will benefit the league as a whole. If Dempsey’s brand generates more revenue that is profit-shared among the teams in the league, then everyone stands to benefit to some extent, although the team employing him gets the biggest benefit.

      This tends to lead to MLS paying for brand names for big-market teams, which is understandable from a business perspective. Along with other similar Calvinball rules that almost always help the big-market teams, it’s very frustrating as someone who isn’t a LA/NY/SEA fan, but I do understand MLS’s reasons for doing it.

  2. mlsconvert88888 - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    I think this is a good move for the Timbers. From what I’ve seen, I would say Valeri gives Nagbe a run for his money on creativeness, and that’s not meant as a knock on Nagbe.

    The timing of this move though, kind of makes me wonder if Merritt Paulson is trying to send a message to his Rivals. “I paid my transfer fees. what.” Or maybe this contract purchase just needed to happen in the transfer window and I’m reading too far into a good move.

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