MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Portland Timbers sign Brazilian midfielder Evander in club-record deal


The Portland Timbers have completed the club-record signing of Brazilian attacking midfielder Evander from Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland, the club announced Monday.

Evander will occupy a Designated Player slot and is under contract through 2026 with a club option for 2027.

The 24-year-old is currently the Europa League leader in assists this season with five in six games. He also has experience in the Champions League. A No. 10, Evander is the new face of Portland's attack.

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition and signing of our new Designated Player, Evander,” technical director Ned Grabavoy said in a release. “It was clear from the beginning stages of this process that this was a great opportunity for both Evander and the Portland Timbers.

"He is a player with natural ability, capable of making an impact, and has already proven himself at a good standard. We see him as an integral part of the club’s future and look forward to seeing him in Green and Gold soon.”

Evander's track record

After joining Midtjylland in 2018, Evander accrued 50 goals and 38 assists in 167 appearances across all competitions. The creative midfielder began his career at Brazil's Vasco da Gama, where he experienced the Copa Libertadores as a teenager. He is also a former Brazil youth international, featuring at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup among other competitions.

FC Midtjylland are a top team in Denmark, a country MLS clubs have recently scouted in for DP signings. Nashville SC acquired Hany Mukhtar from Brøndby, while the Philadelphia Union signed striker Mikael Uhre from the same club. Both players have found success in MLS, particularly Mukhtar, who just won the Landon Donovan 2022 MLS MVP award and the 2022 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Evander to Portland. He has proven consistently in the Danish Superliga that he has the quality to be a game changer,” head coach Giovanni Savarese said in a release.

“His experience in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League allows us to believe that he will be able to adapt quickly to the MLS competition. I am looking forward to incorporating Evander and working with him to build a stronger team for the next season.”

New era in Portland

Evander is the face of a Timbers attack transitioning from one era to another.

Club legend Diego Valeri departed after the 2021 season and talisman Sebastian Blanco turns 35 in March. Their new Brazilian playmaker will play through the center with Blanco, DP Yimmi Chara, U22 Initiative signing Santiago Moreno and others alongside him.

Portland are expected to remain busy this winter with further changes, both incoming and outgoing. Blanco and forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda can each be bought down to open DP spots, one of which will be occupied by Evander.

Savarese signed a new contract this winter, as did forward Felipe Mora and left back Claudio Bravo. Under Savarese's leadership, the Timbers have made two MLS Cup finals (2018, 2021).

The ongoing winter transfer window is Portland's first with Grabavoy in charge after they parted ways with longtime chief soccer officer Gavin Wilkinson in October.

Portland missed the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in 2022, the first time that's happened since 2016.