Timbers close to Nagbe trade
The remaking of the Portland Timbers might be about to hit turbocharge mode.
Multiple reports on Monday indicate the Timbers are close to trading United States national team midfielder Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta United.
Kristian Dyer of Metro New York newspaper was first to report the trade is close to happening. ESPN's Taylor Twellman along with Seattle Sounders TV analyst Steve Zakuani (who is a close friend of Nagbe) also tweeted that Nagbe appears to be Atlanta bound.
In return, reports indicate that the Timbers would receive a league-record amount of allocation money, an international roster spot, plus the right to a percentage of the money from any future sale of Nagbe.
ESPN reports Portland could receive $750,000 in general allocation money, $300,000 in targeted allocation money and up to $600,000 more based on incentives.
Such a deal would be the largest in MLS history, surpassing the $900,000 in allocation money Orlando City sent to Sporting Kansas City this season for forward Dom Dwyer.
According to MLS Players Union figures, Nagbe was paid $565,000 in 2017. ESPN is reporting he asked the Timbers for a raise to more than $1 million and the club balked.
Central defender Gbenga Arokoyo, who missed the 2017 season with a torn Achilles tendon, also would go to Atlanta in the deal according to reports
If the trade is made, it would mark the end of the Akron University-era of Timbers soccer. Recently departed coach Caleb Porter coached Nagbe and Darren Mattocks at Akron, where they won a national title together. The Timbers traded Mattocks on Sunday. Another former Akron Zip, midfielder Ben Zemanski, s a free agent and has not been offered a contract by the Timbers.
Our first reaction is that this would be a good move for Portland.
Nagbe is a talented player whose ability to dribble out of trouble is especially valuable. He is a team-first guy — to a fault. In seven seasons in Portland, Nagbe has 27 goals and 30 assists. He has one goal and two assists in 12 playoff games.
Compare that with Diego Valeri's 21 goals and 11 assists this season and you get an idea of why Nagbe's production has been questioned throughout his career.
If the money helps the Timbers sign a proven productive new attacker — one of the club's stated goals for this offseason — then this deal at the reported numbers is a no-brainer for Portland.
Of course, Atlanta's high-flying offense might be a great fit for Nagbe, which would be fun to watch from the comfort of the MLS Western Conference.
Any trades cannot be made until the completion of the expansion draft for LAFC. That draft is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday.