Darlington Nagbe - Portland Timbers - 2017
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Stejskal: Portland shopping star Darlington Nagbe with Atlanta in running


Three independent sources have confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that the Portland Timbers are in the process of shopping Darlington Nagbe around MLS, including to Atlanta United FC.

Earlier on Monday MSG's Kristian Dyer first revealed that the Timbers were looking to deal Nagbe, with Atlanta as a likely destination. ESPN's Taylor Twellman and Sounders broadcaster Steve Zakuani, a former teammate of Nagbe, followed up with separate reports. 

The sources told MLSsoccer.com that Portland are looking for a package that would include a hefty sum of General Allocation Money in exchange for the US national team midfielder. They indicated the Timbers are likely seeking a deal that would be in the neighborhood of the trade that sent Dom Dwyer to Orlando last summer, in which Sporting Kansas City received a record amount of allocation money for the striker (up to $1.6 million, including performance-based allocation money).

The sources said that Nagbe asked the Timbers in the middle of the season for a raise from his 2017 salary of $565,000 to a number around $1 million per year. Portland balked at the price, but they didn’t include the 27-year-old in trade talks until after head coach Caleb Porter shockingly left the club earlier this month. Porter coached Nagbe at the University of Akron from 2008-2010 before reuniting with him in MLS in 2013.

Nagbe was selected by the Timbers with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and has been with the club for his entire pro career. He’s been a key player from the moment he joined Portland, helping the club to the 2015 MLS Cup title and recording 27 goals and 30 assists in 214 regular season appearances in seven seasons.

One of those goals earned the AT&T Goal of the Year award in 2011 and he added to his highlight reel with this strike in August: 

While he’s drawn plenty of praise for his play at various times over the years, Nagbe has also been periodically criticized for failing to produce more goals and assists. He’s scored just four goals and notched only 10 assists in 54 games over the past two regular seasons, totals that the sources said have contributed to the Timbers’ decision to shop him around the league.

The Liberia-born Nagbe, who broke into the USMNT in 2015 after receiving US citizenship and has 24 caps to his name, signed his current contract in March 2016 and it won’t expire until after the 2019 season. Portland used Targeted Allocation Money to buy his salary under the league’s maximum budget charge this year.

At the end of 2016 he was the subject of international transfer interest from Scottish giants Celtic, but a final deal never materialized.

The Timbers won’t be able to officially trade Nagbe until the MLS trade window re-opens after the conclusion of the Expansion Draft on Tuesday.

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