TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Report
Could two of the Portland Timbers' most influential and recognizable attacking stars be headed out of town?
One day after reports broke suggesting that midfielder Darlington Nagbe is soon to be traded to Atlanta United, the Washington Post's Steve Goff took to Twitter to relay a potential bombshell about striker Fanendo Adi:
Getting word 3 Chinese clubs taking interest in Portland striker Fanendo Adi, two in 1st flight and one in 2nd. One club particularly keen on Nigerian, who has multiple years left on Timbers deal and would command sizable transfer fee. 51 goals in 4 seasons. #rctid— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 12, 2017
A powerful targetman with quick, soft feet, Adi was a key contributor to Portland's 2015 run to the MLS Cup title and has bagged 51 goals and 12 assists in 112 MLS regular-season appearances, plus another two goals and an assist in the Timbers' 2015 postseason march.
But he was plagued by injury troubles this year, missing the last three months of the campaign and finishing with 10 goals and three assists in 22 games.
Timbers owner Merritt Paulson responded to Goff's tweet with one of his own, assuring Portland supporters that Adi isn't going anywhere; but as is often the case, Paulson deleted his tweet not long after. He did return to the medium on Tuesday to share a bit of the club's perspective on the situation.
"Things can always change and the goal is always to get better as a club, but 1) there are literally no offers for this player we are aware of and 2) selling him is not in current plans," he wrote. "Right now to sell a player (esp a striker) internationally with what we actually net, youd pay way more to replace him. Makes very little sense for us... And anytime you replace you have risk. A settled guy in this league w proven productivity here is valuable ...esp at his age."
"Last thing as a public service reminder before these responses combust: I am merely a club spokesman here...I am not the GM or coach...they make player decisions, I do not. I write the checks and evaluate if they work or not."
Several former MLSers have plied their trade in China's ambitious, cash-fueled leagues in recent years, most prominently Obafemi Martins, who transferred from the Seattle Sounders to Shanghai Shenhua in a big-money move last year.