On Thursday evening, Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson spoke at Farm to Label 2015, an "invitation-only high-energy event for food and beverage business owners and executives."
Shortly thereafter this tweet hit the internet:
Eyebrows were raised, the tweet was spread, and #RCTID went on red alert.
(RCTIDnomatterwhat was on top of it and put up a FanPost right away.)
The always industrious Chris Rifer provided a little more context to the tweet, although confirmation for that context does not yet appear to be forthcoming.
LRT: Sounds like MP made those comments in answering a question about Drogba at an event. Trying to confirm w/ club, but nothing yet. #RCTID— Chris Rifer (@ChrisRifer) May 29, 2015
So, assuming the Timbers are, in fact, going after a new designated player, what needs to happen for that to occur?
First, the Timbers look to have an available roster slot as the team only has 27 players listed on their roster currently, under than the limit of 28 put in place with the new 2015 roster rules.
Next, the Timbers will need to make sure that, if the rumored DP is an international player, that they have an international slot for him. It is unclear if the Timbers have extra international roster slots or not, given the large and somewhat unknown number of players on the team with green cards, which allow them to count as domestic players. A quick estimation puts Gaston Fernandez, Maximiliano Urruti, Norberto Paparatto, Adam Kwarasey, Liam Ridgewell, Dairon Asprilla, Ishmael Yartey, Fanendo Adi, Jeanderson, and Alvas Powell in need of international slots, leaving the Timbers with ten players for their natural eight slots.
Finally, the Timbers need a free designated player slot. Depending on who you talk to, this is either something that will be no problem come the summer transfer window or something that will require some significant hoops to be jumped through. Coming into the season it was widely assumed that there would be more than three designated player slots for each team, an idea largely put forth by generally reliable insiders like Taylor Twellman and one that should not be entirely ruled out in the summer transfer window.
Alternatively, if teams stick with three designated player slots, the Timbers could either trade or pay down Ridgewell, Adi, or Valeri to sub designated player levels. This would require significant amounts of allocation money to accomplish, well beyond the salary hits listed in the most recent MLS Players Union release.
So, assuming that all three of those conditions are met, who could the Timbers be looking at?
The conventional wisdom has the Timbers in need of a top-class striker and Didier Drogba, who has been repeatedly linked to MLS, could fit the bill. According to Rifer above, a question about Drogba could even have prompted the statement from Paulson.
Argentine striker Carlos Tevez has also been linked to MLS in the recent past, but would likely have significantly higher wage demands than most teams in MLS would be willing to meet.
There are any number of potential DP signings available either for a free or for a reasonable transfer fee. Do you think that the Timbers will make a move for a new DP over the summer? How do you think it would play out? Let us know in the comments below.