Boca Juniors have approached the Portland Timbers about forward Lucas Melano, but the MLS club have not received a formal offer for the 23-year-old Designated Player from the Argentine giants, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Reports have emerged out of Argentina over the last week that claim Melano could be on the cusp of joining Boca Juniors. According to reporter Juan Arango, Argentine radio station Continental 590 reported on Tuesday that Boca offered money to Portland to acquire Melano on loan but that the Timbers never replied.
Acc. to report, Melano already has stated that he wants to leave. Boca offered $$$ for loan... @timbersfc never replied.— Juan G. Arango (@JuanG_Arango) June 7, 2016
The source indicated that the Argentine report was false on Tuesday, telling MLSsoccer.com that while Boca did indeed approach and inquire about Melano in informal discussions with the Timbers, they have not sent Portland a formal offer for the player.
Timbers owner Merritt Paulson sent a series of since-deleted tweets on Monday dispelling the claims that the Argentine forward would move to Boca. He sent another tweet on Tuesday to The Oregonian’s Jamie Goldberg in which he reminded fans that not all reports should be taken as fact.
@Jamiebgoldberg likely t b plenty of rumors in coming weeks. I'd just remind our fans foreign soccer press is not the word (or hand) of god— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) June 7, 2016
The Timbers signed Melano to a DP deal last July, acquiring him from Argentine Primera club Lanus for a reported $5 million transfer fee. Despite notching an assist in the Timbers’ MLS Cup victory last December, Melano hasn’t quite lived up to expectations in Portland, scoring just one goal in 28 regular season appearances with the Timbers.
He has three assists, no goals and just four shots on goal in 15 regular season games this year. Portland head coach Caleb Porter told media last week that “it’s pretty obvious that [Melano] needs to produce more.”
Boca Juniors are currently coached by former Columbus Crew SC star Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The 2008 MLS MVP, Schelotto brought Melano to Lanus when he managed the team in July 2013 and coached the Argentine forward there until Melano moved to Portland last summer.