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Reports: Portland Timbers close to re-signing Diego Valeri, ink Croatian center back Dario Zuparic


As MLS transfer season heats up, the Portland Timbers were the subject of multiple reports on Tuesday, the most notable being that they are reportedly close to a new deal keep star midfielder Diego Valeri in the Rose City, according to The Athletic's Sam Stejskal. Meanwhile, the club has also reportedly signed Croatian center back Dario Zuparic, according to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle.

The Timbers have stated on a number of occasions following the conclusion of the 2019 season that re-signing Valeri was a top priority. According to The Athletic, the two sides are nearing a deal, but it’s unknown if the Argentine will remain a Designated Player.

The Timbers have also seemingly addressed one of their targeted off-season needs with the reported signing of Zuparic. If confirmed, the 27-year-old would arrive from HNK Rijeka, the same club New York City FC forward Heber played for.

The 6-foot-2 Zuparic, who will reportedly be signed using Targeted Allocation Money, began his professional career in his native Croatia with HNK Cibalia before moving on to Pescara of Italy's Serie B at the start of the 2013-14, helping the club gain promotion in 2015-16.

Zuparic was loaned to Rijeka in Jan. 2017, a move that later became permanent, where he was part of a Croatian First Division championship, a pair of Croatian Cup titles and two second-place finishes.

Zuparic, who reportedly drew interest from English sides Sheffield United and Fulham, played for both Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina at the youth level.

He will join a center back group that includes Larrys Mabiala, Bill Tuiloma and Julio Cascante, while Claude Dielna was left unprotected and could be selected in today’s MLS Expansion Draft.

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