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Report: Portland Timbers to Add Ned Grabavoy, Zarek Valentin

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Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports's Ives Galarcep is reporting that the Portland Timbers are on the verge of adding midfielder Ned Grabavoy and defender Zarek Valentin to the side ahead of the start of the 2016 MLS preseason. According to Galarcep, Grabavoy will join the Timbers as a free agent -- one of the league's inaugural class -- while Valentin, despite coming on a free transfer from Norwegian side Bodo Glimt, will require a trade with the Montreal Impact for his rights.


Grabavoy, 32, is the classic "shuttler", capable of holding the ball and distributing from the center of the pitch. Before Darlington Nagbe defined the role for the Timbers, it was Grabavoy who was defining that role in MLS and, with plenty of matches for the Timbers to play this year, he will add definite depth to the more advanced areas of the Timbers' midfield.

A former Real Salt Lake player under Jason Kreis, Grabavoy went with Kreis to New York City FC where he played out his contract, making 26 league appearances, scoring two goals and dishing three assists for NYCFC in 2015.


Valentin, 24, spent the last three years with Glimt, first on loan from Montreal in 2013 then on a permanent deal after spurning a new contract from the Impact. A product of Caleb Porter's time at Akron, Valentin was one of the first Zips under Porter's tutelage to take a Generation Adidas deal with MLS, leaving college after his sophomore year.

A defender capable of playing across the back line, Valentin will provide the Timbers with depth at both the center back and right back positions for 2016. While most Timbers fans will be looking at him as a center back, Valentin has seen most of his time at right back recently, playing primarily out wide during his time in Norway.

Worth noting is that Galarcep refers to the trade for Valentine's rights in the past tense, indicating that it has been completed, but there is no indication as to what it was for.


With these moves the Timbers bring in two depth pieces that could be potential starters elsewhere in the league. However, they also make it look unlikely that the team will be bringing back out of contract Argentine center back Norberto Paparatto, with Valentin -- as well as still unsigned Re-entry Draft pick Jermaine Taylor -- occupying a similar spot on the roster to him.