The Portland Timbers are in advanced talks to acquire Brazilian attacking midfielder Evander from Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland, sources tell MLSsoccer.com. The deal would be a club-record signing if it gets done.
Evander, 24, has 50 goals and 38 assists in 165 appearances with the club since joining in 2019 from Vasco da Gama, including one goal and four assists in four Europa League games this season. He is a former Brazil youth international and would be a Designated Player signing. A No. 10, Evander would be the new face of Portland's attack. The Timbers have been working on a potential deal for Evander for a while.
Reports suggesting Evander's release clause is $15 million aren't quite accurate, but the potential transfer fee would still be significant. Evander has previously been linked with Scotland's Rangers FC, an unnamed LaLiga club and Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray. A couple of other MLS teams had scouted Evander in the past, per sources.
Heading into the 2023 campaign, Portland are in for a very busy offseason.
Evander would occupy a DP spot if he's signed, but the Timbers are hopeful for further flexibility to potentially open another. Their DPs in 2022 were Yimmi Charà, Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Sebastian Blanco, though Blanco and Niezgoda can be bought down to free up two DP spots.
There are also rumors swirling about the future of US international midfielder Eryk Williamson, who could be a potential league-record trade or remain at the club in 2023. Clubs in Europe have expressed interest in Williamson as well. Other players are expected to depart.
Portland have three U22 Initiative signings from South America (Santiago Moreno, David Ayala and Juan David Mosquera), so if another DP is signed, it'd need to be a Young DP to maintain all three U22 Initiative slots. If their third DP is under the max-TAM charge, they can use all three as well. The Timbers are in the market for a new center forward, center back and possibly more.
Offseason of change
On Wednesday, head coach Giovanni Savarese signed a long-term contract extension with Portland. The respected Venezuelan has been with the Timbers since the 2018 season, twice leading them to MLS Cup and into the postseason four of five seasons, missing out only in 2022.
The Timbers recently announced their end-of-year roster decisions, providing further clarity on their offseason flexibility. Right back Josecarlos Van Rankin leaves after his loan from Liga MX's Chivas expired, among a few other departures. The club have 24 players under contract for 2023 so far.
Technical director Ned Grabavoy is Portland's acting chief soccer officer after longtime general manager Gavin Wilkinson departed following U.S. Soccer's independent Sally Yates-led investigation.
Portland, who hosted MLS Cup 2021, finished eighth in the Western Conference standings in 2022. They were in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs contention until Decision Day, when they lost a win-or-go-home match at Real Salt Lake.
FC Midtjylland are a top team in Denmark, a place MLS clubs have recently looked at for DP signings. Nashville SC acquired Hany Mukhtar from Brøndby, while the Philadelphia Union signed Mikael Uhre from the same club. Both players have had success in MLS, particularly Mukhtar, who just won the Golden Boot presented by Audi and is the favorite to win 2022's Landon Donovan MLS MVP award.