Striker Fanendo Adi has asked the Portland Timbers for a move and the club are exploring their options to offload him before the end of the secondary transfer window on Aug. 8, sources have told MLSsoccer.com.
The sources said that Adi's preference is to remain within MLS and that the Timbers are currently engaged in trade discussions with several teams around the league. If the Timbers move Adi, the sources expected Portland to add another attacking player to replace him.
A huge part of Portland’s attack since he joined the team in 2014, the 27-year-old Designated Player has struggled for regular minutes under first-year Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese. He began the season as the club’s starting striker, but his lack of production and the emergence of Samuel Armenteros has relegated him to a reserve role for the better part of two months.
He’s started just one game since May 19 and has just two goals and two assists in 13 regular season matches this year. He hasn’t played in any of the Timbers’ last three matches across all competitions and didn’t make the 18 for their last two, a 3-2 loss at LAFC in the U.S. Open Cup last Wednesday and a 2-2 home draw with Montreal on Saturday.
His age and resume would presumably make Adi a prime trade target, but the sources said that his contract could make it difficult for Portland to get much of a return for him from another MLS team. The Timbers extended Adi’s contract last year, with sources saying his new contract runs through 2020. According to the MLS Players Association, his new deal is paying him $1,933,333.33 this year. That puts him well above the $1.5 million maximum to be eligible to be bought down with Targeted Allocation Money, meaning any MLS team he moves to would have to classify him as a DP. The sources confirmed that he'll make more than $1.5 million every year for the duration of his contract.
A few teams in MLS have the requisite roster space and need for a No. 9 like Adi. Colorado, Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake could all use a striker and all have an open DP spot. Montreal is now in the same boat after their pursuit of French forward Jimmy Briand fell through. Sporting Kansas City need a No. 9 and would be able to use TAM to buy down the contract of third DP Yohan Croizet, but they are reportedly not pursuing Adi.
Adi has received foreign interest in the past, with the sources saying that Portland turned down sizable transfer offers from Turkish club Besiktas and Mexican side Tigres for the Nigerian in past transfer windows.
Even though his contract might make it hard for Portland to get a big return for him in MLS, the league’s transfer rules mean that they would likely receive more allocation money if they trade him within the league than if they move him abroad.
Because Adi is a DP, Portland would receive 100 percent of any transfer fee until they recoup all out-of-pocket payments they’ve made to him since he joined the club. After those payments are recouped, Portland would receive 75 percent of whatever is left of the fee and the league would collect the remaining 25 percent. The Timbers would only be able to turn the latter part of their cut of the fee – the 75 percent after all out-of-pocket payments are collected – into General Allocation Money. The sources expected that amount to be low, perhaps even non-existent.
Adi has 53 goals and 14 assists in 125 career regular season appearances with the Timbers. Portland will look to extend their MLS unbeaten streak to 13 games when they host Houston on Saturday night.