Timbers add Argentinian midfielder as designated player

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

Updated: January 10, 2013, 11:55 PM

 

A significant piece was added Thursday as the reshaping of the Portland Timbers' roster continued.

Diego Valeri, a 26-year-old attacking midfielder from Argentina, is coming to the Timbers as the team's third designated player.

"Diego Valeri is certainly a tremendous addition to the Timbers and will bring quality and creativity to our attack," Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. "We expect he will be one of the better playmakers in the league, but more importantly Diego fits our identity and his play should boost production to help the club win games."

Valeri joins Portland on loan from Club Atlético Lanús of Argentina's first-division. Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson said Portland sees Valeri as a long-term addition to the roster, adding that Valeri's interest in joining the Timbers was key to the agreement.

"At his age and with his ability, we expect to be in a position to purchase this player and make him a permanent fixture in Portland," Wilkinson said.

Valeri played nine seasons with Lanús, scoring 25 goals in 158 league matches in Argentina's top league. In 2007, he was part of Lanús winning its first Primera División championship.

He spent the 2009-10 season with FC Porto of Portugal and also was loaned to Spain's UD Almería during the 2010-11 season. Valeri has made three appearances with Argentina's national team.

Through the Timbers, Valeri said he is excited to come to Portland.

"I am very happy and this, for me, is a beautiful opportunity," he said. "I always wanted to play in MLS. I'm grateful that the Portland Timbers have given me this chance."

Alejandro Taraciuk, who has been a conduit to MLS for players from South America, described Valeri as one of the more talented of those players.

"I have been responsible for bringing approximately 70 players to the league, and without doubt Diego Valeri is one of the best players I have placed in MLS," Taraciuk said in a statement released by the Timbers.

Valeri is the third designated player signed by the Timbers, joining Colombian midfielder Diego Chara and Scottish striker Kris Boyd. Boyd's future in Portland seems uncertain. Porter this week said that Boyd might have trouble playing the possession-oriented style of soccer the first-year coach wants from his team. Boyd was by far the highest paid Timbers player last season at a base salary of $1.25 million.

The MLS designated player rule allows teams to pay those players more money than what that player counts against the salary cap. Each team has two DP slots, and can add a third slot by paying a fee to MLS. Per league and club policy, terms of the Valeri deal were not disclosed.

The Timbers now have 29 players under contract.