Just a couple weeks ago now, the Portland Timbers were just starting their first training sessions. It was an ordinary pre-season training session filled with trialists and the like. One trialist of the bunch, however, was not like the others. Instead of attempting to bounce back from a recent MLS team waive, or come up from one of the lower division leagues, this player was from some of the greatest clubs in the world. Manchester United, Arsenal, Werder Bremen... and now the Portland Timbers apparently.
Or that's what he's hoping anyway. As a trialist, Caleb Porter and crew are attempting to figure out whether Silvestre is both the right fit for the team as well as being impressive enough to justify the cost. Those two things must align in order for him to get signed, and therein lies a problem.
But first his performances so far.
We've now had three games to watch Silvestre, as well as a smattering of training games that Will was able to witness. With each game, it seems like Silvestre has gotten more confident and better attuned to defend MLS strikers. This is, obviously, a good thing. In the second game against Sporting Kansas City, he was able to help Andrew Jean-Baptiste keep a clean sheet while in charge. It was an impressive endeavor and a potential look at a solid combination for the 2013 season, should he get signed.
This all culminated in yesterday's game with Silvestre scoring a goal against the Seattle Sounders. Pre-season or not, if you score against the team from up north, you're going to win a lot of fan's hearts, especially since it was the winning goal. While that was not necessarily indicative of his defensive skills, which were solid throughout, it certainly won't hurt him when fans are begging the team to sign him, similar to what happened with Franck Songo'o last year.
Which leads to the financial issue.
Silvestre is certainly not going to be cheap. The defender played his best years at the likes of Manchester United and then Arsenal. He didn't come all the way out to Portland to make $80,000. While he might be old and will more than likely be closing out his career here if signed, he'll probably require at least the higher MLS standard player salaries ($250,000+) and therein could be the problem, perhaps even a DP spot.
Then again, the Portland Timbers did just shed a rather sizable $350,000 salary cap hit from their roster with the let go of Kris Boyd. If that money wasn't already immediately sunk into Diego Valeri, which it might have been, a portion of it could go towards securing Silvestre.
But that's certainly not something to take lightly. At his age he could very well play his first match, get injured, and be out for the remainder of the season.
What do you think? Should the Portland Timbers sign Mikael Silvestre? At what price point would he be worth it?