Gavin Wilkinson said it; Caleb Porter said it; sources said it: the Timbers are going shopping this summer. We have got that part down. Now, with a $2,000,000 per year bid reportedly in for the services of Joleon Lescott, what other options are out there as the Timbers look to strengthen their side this summer?
Today, let's look at a trio of centerbacks whose contracts run out just before the start of the summer transfer window in early July.
Fernandez is just as much of a stretch as Lescott. Fernandez is a highly rated Argentine defender plying his trade in Russia for Dinamo Moscow since 2005. In his time with Dinamo, Fernandez has generally been a fan favorite, even being voted the player of the year after his debut season with the team.
However, it may be time for Fernandez to move on. The defender's contract is up at the end of this month and he could be ready to move on, particularly given the incident in the beginning of may in which Zenit St. Petersbury fans stormed the pitch and punched Dinamo's captain in a match that Moscow was winning 4-2.
Fulhams' captain for the last several years, the 32-year-old US born Hangeland has been a staple of the side during their recent run in the premier league, including their 2009/10 Europa League campaign. A solid centerback, Hangeland is both an organizer and a powerful aerial presence.
Hangeland also has a link to the Timbers, having played alongside current centerback Pa Modou Kah while representing the Norwegian national team in 2002 and several times thereafter. Although Kah never established himself as a regular starter with Norway, Hangeland has gone on to be one of the most capped players in Norway's history with 91 appearances so far.
The 34-year-old Knight could be a less expensive option available on the market, but he is a steady defender who never quite broke into the top ranks of Engligh football, despite a promising career. Knight has bounced around the premier league as well as the lower levels in England, most recently playing for Bolton Wanderers in the English Championship.
Knight may be less sexy than some of the other names available on the market, but he could be a raltive bargain and, depending on the extent to which the Timbers intend to make changes this summer, he could leave more space in the budget for additional signings.
There are plenty of other names floating around out there on transfer lists and free agent boards, so who would you like to see the Timbers go after?