Portland Timbers Sign Diego Valeri as a Designated Player

Jeff Vinnick

The Argentine will join the Portland Timbers on loan from Club Atletico Lanus.

Well it's official! The worst kept secret in Portland Timbers history is now 100% confirmed as the Portland Timbers issued a press release this morning confirming that Diego Valeri is, in fact, joining the Timbers. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, earlier reports have stated it is a one year deal worth $400,000. How that gets divided up between the player and club is entirely unknown.

Here's what Gavin Wilkinson and head coach Caleb Porter had to say about Valeri:

"Valeri is a tremendous acquisition and his desire to join the Portland Timbers was an integral part in getting him on loan," said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson. "At his age and with his ability, we expect to be in a position to purchase this player and make him a permanent fixture in Portland."

"Diego Valeri is certainly a tremendous addition to the Timbers and will bring quality and creativity to our attack," said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. "We expect he will be one of the better playmakers in the league, but more importantly Diego fits our identity and his play should boost production to help the club win games."

While still a somewhat unknown quantity to fans, according to multiple Argentine reports Valeri is the creative element that the Timbers have been lacking for quite some time.

And with this, we now face a serious question: just who occupies the midfield with Diego Valeri? It's a safe bet that Will Johnson will take a prominent spot on the team and it's difficult to imagine Diego Chara being left out as well. I suspect the pre-season training games and camp will be very telling.

How do you think Diego Valeri will fit into the 2013 squad? What midfield are you expecting come March?

UPDATE: Merritt Paulson took to Twitter to shed more light on the deal stating:

we don't do pure "rentals". terms are pre negotiated to acquire.

Meaning if Valeri performs well this year the Timbers can opt to purchase him outright.

Full press release:

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has acquired Argentine midfielder Diego Valeri as a Designated Player, and he will join Portland on loan from Argentine first-division side Club Atlético Lanús. He will be added to the Timbers’ roster pending the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Valeri, 26, has played nine seasons with Lanús (2003-09; 2011-12), featuring in 158 matches and recording 25 goals in Argentina’s Primera División, and recently served as the club’s captain. He helped Lanús to its first Primera División title in 2007. Additionally, he spent one season with FC Porto of Portugal in 2009-10 and also had a loan spell with Spain’s UD Almería during the 2010-11 La Liga campaign. Valeri has three caps with the Argentina National Team.

"Valeri is a tremendous acquisition and his desire to join the Portland Timbers was an integral part in getting him on loan," said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson. "At his age and with his ability, we expect to be in a position to purchase this player and make him a permanent fixture in Portland."

"Diego Valeri is certainly a tremendous addition to the Timbers and will bring quality and creativity to our attack," said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. "We expect he will be one of the better playmakers in the league, but more importantly Diego fits our identity and his play should boost production to help the club win games."

Since returning to Lanús from Almería in 2011, Valeri tallied 13 goals in 62 league games over the last three Primera División seasons and led the club to a second-place finish in the 2011-12 Clausura tournament. He also played in eight games and scored a goal during the 2012 Copa Libertadores, helping the club reach the Round of 16 – its best finish in the tournament.

"I have been responsible for bringing approximately 70 players to the league and without doubt Diego Valeri is one of the best players I have placed in MLS," said Alejandro Taraciuk, president of Fútbol One.

A native of Lanús, Argentina, Valeri made his debut with the Argentina National Team on March 16, 2011, in a 4-1 win over Venezuela, and appeared in two other friendlies for Argentina in 2011.

"I am very happy and this, for me, is a beautiful opportunity," Valeri said. "I always wanted to play in MLS. I’m grateful that the Portland Timbers have given me this chance."

Coming up through the development system of Lanús, Valeri made his professional debut with his hometown club at the age of 18 on Sept. 27, 2003. He had a breakout 2007-08 season, recording eight goals in 26 matches as Lanús finished the Apertura tournament in first place with a record of 11-3-5 (38pts).

With FC Porto during the 2009-10 season, Valeri appeared in 12 Portuguese La Liga matches, contributing to a third-place finish in the league standings. He also played in two 2009-10 UEFA Champions League fixtures as FC Porto reached the tournament’s Round of 16. Valeri played nine matches in Spain’s top flight with Almería while on loan during the 2010-11 season.

Valeri has competed in prestigious South American club tournaments the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana a combined five times. Twice Valeri has helped Lanús reach the Round of 16 in the Copa Libertadores (2008, 2012) and aided in a quarterfinal appearance in the 2006 Copa Sudamericana.

Valeri will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.

Diego Valeri
Full name: Diego Hernán Valeri
Pronunciation: va-LEHR-ee
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-10
Weight: 165
Born: May 1, 1986, in Valentín Alsina, Argentina
Hometown: Lanús, Argentina
Last Club: Club Atlético Lanús
College: n/a
Citizenship: Argentina
Acquired: Acquired on loan from Argentina’s Club Atlético Lanús as a Designated Player on Jan. 10, 2013.

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