TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

UPDATE (Feb. 1) – The Portland Timbers have signed midfielder David Ayala from Argentine Primera División side Estudiantes, the club announced Tuesday. The 19-year-old, who will occupy a U22 Initiative slot, is signed through 2025 with a club option for 2026.

“David has been a target of ours for close to a year now. We have been in lengthy negotiations with Estudiantes to find an amicable transfer agreement for both sides and we are delighted to finalize this transfer. He is a quality player that we believe will be a great player and investment for the club,” general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson said in a release. “David has a unique skill set that brings different qualities to our midfield. He has good experience at a high level for his age and will immediately make an impact on the team.”

Ayala played three seasons for Estudiantes after making his professional debut in 2019. He was the second-youngest player to debut in the club’s history and made 32 appearances across all competitions.

Ayala was also a key part of Argentina's 2019 U-17 FIFA World Cup team.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring David to the Timbers. He’s a player we’ve had our eyes on, and from constant communication with the people that have helped in his development, there has been great, positive feedback about him,” head coach Giovanni Savarese said in a release. “His talent will strengthen us and make us more competitive. He shows great potential to grow as a player, and we feel Portland will be a great environment for him.”

ORIGINAL (Jan. 15) – The Portland Timbers are in pursuit of Argentine midfielder David Ayala, according to multiple reports.

The link was first reported by Cesar Luis Merlo and later confirmed by MLSsoccer.com's Tom Bogert, who added that Ayala would join Portland as a U22 Initiative signing.

Ayala, 19, began his professional career in 2019 in Argentina with Estudiantes, where he's since made 33 first-team appearances across all competitions. He's also been capped 13 times by Argentina's U-17 side.

A defensive midfielder, Ayala could provide depth and an eventual succession plan behind longtime stalwart Diego Chara, who signed a contract extension with the Timbers through 2024 on Friday.

Portland also have Eryk Williamson as part of their defensive midfield group; he's recovering from an ACL tear that ended his 2021 season. Another option is Cristhian Paredes, who was a standout during their run to MLS Cup 2021.