Back in December of 2010, the Portland Timbers made their first big splash for a name player signing, Arsenal defender Kerrea Gilbert. While he was relatively unknown in the world, the fact that Arsenal held on to him for so long, and even used him in some non-regular season matches was enough for some to raise their eyebrows in anticipation. Scheduled to arrive just a couple days after training kicked off in late January, however, customs and visa issues have thus far halted any progress in getting him to Portland.
Of course, he wouldn't be the first person to get bogged down by customs issues when attempting to ply their trade in another country, but one still has to wonder how long the player could possibly take before the Portland Timbers FO just throw their hands up and give up. As a recently promoted team, the Timbers will eventually just have to resign ever getting the player and moving on to somebody who is more attainable, if that's even required seeing as how Steve Purdy has been playing very well in what would normally be Kerrea Gilbert's position.
Further lending credence that something like this is happening is OregonLive's own Geoffrey C. Arnold when he tweeted:
Gilbert's status nothing 2 do W/Purdy. Too many personal issues popping up. It's dead.
As somebody who is very close to the Portland Timbers FO, this should, at the very least, hold a bit of weight behind it, although it's not as if Geoffrey has never been wrong before.
So where does this leave us? Kerrea Gilbert is a signed member of the Portland Timbers, after all. We own his rights as a player until the end of said contract unless we sell or terminate him, the latter of which being unlikely. I guess the only other option is to sell him unless the FO is willing to hold out on a seemingly endless red tape being produced by either the US government or the UK government.
Of course, nothing has yet been announced officially, and Kerrea Gilbert is still proudly displayed under our roster section as having been "signed" so there may still be hope yet, but with each passing day that we hear no news is just one more nail on the coffin of this once fruitful player signing.