A club source tells Stumptown Footy that the Portland Timbers have transferred holding midfielder George Fochive to Danish side Viborg FF for an undisclosed fee. While a portion of the selling price will go to MLS, word around the club is that the Timbers will receive approximately $100,000 in allocation money as a result of Fochive's transfer.
The Timbers will not retain a first right of refusal on Fochive should he return to MLS in the future because the club received a transfer fee as part of this transaction.
The Timbers had reportedly planned to keep Fochive within the club as recently as mid-January, but the offer from Viborg provided the Timbers with a transfer fee and will give Fochive an opportunity to get out from under a crowded depth chart in the Timbers’ defensive midfield.
Fochive, a University of Connecticut product, went on a brief training stint to Viborg in the winter, but, despite reports out of Viborg that Fochive did well, an offer did not immediately materialize and Fochive returned to Portland to open camp with the Timbers. The offer from De Grønne finally presented itself on the eve of the UEFA transfer deadline, leading the Timbers to pull the trigger on the move.
Fochive joined the Timbers in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, where the team selected him with the 39th overall pick.
In his two years with the Timbers, Fochive appeared eleven times for the first team in league play, helping to steady the midfield in the team's rough early days of 2015 and making regular appearances in the 18 as the team made its championship run.
An aggressive, box-to-box midfielder with some bite on the defensive side of the ball, Fochive joins Viborg coming off a 2015 season that saw him make large strides forward as a player. He will have the opportunity to compete with the side's central midfielders for minutes.
In 10th place out of 12 teams in the Danish Superliga, Viborg will be hoping to cement its place in the top flight after gaining promotion in the 2014-15 season. Currently sitting six points outside of the two-team relegation zone with half of the season left to go, Viborg will also have eyes at moving up into the mid table and better establishing themselves in the Superliga.
Interestingly, reports out of Denmark have characterized Fochive as an attacking midfielder, perhaps portending a new rule for the player.
The loss of Fochive leaves the Timbers with a defensive midfield corps of Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Ben Zemanski, and Nick Besler signed to the first team. While Chara will regularly anchor the midfield for the first team, Fochive would have been competing with Jewsbury, the regular choice to spell Chara at the end of last season, and Zemanski, who's form early in the preseason has been impressive, for the second spot on the depth chart.
William Conwell and Chris Rifer contributed to this report.