The Portland Timbers’ search for a new winger may be drawing to a close according to reports out of Argentina and the US today that are linking the side to a $4.5 million move for San Lorenzo’s Sebastian Blanco.
Blanco, 28, was first linked to the Timbers this morning in a tweet from Argentine journalist César Luis Merlo stating that San Lorenzo were looking to sell.
#SanLorenzo aceptó vender a Sebastián Blanco. Quieren cash y hay 600 mil dólares de diferencia con Portland de MLS. pic.twitter.com/YmoQShOzB6— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) January 10, 2017
The rumor was then given another bump this afternoon when reliable MLS reporter Sam Stejskal reported that multiple sources had confirmed the Timbers combined bid and salary cost at $4.5 million.
Multiple sources tell me that Timbers have submitted offer for Sebastian Blanco. $4.5 million cost covers fee/year one salary.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) January 10, 2017
Club America also have an offer in for Blanco. Sources confident he'd sign with Portland. Again, $4.5 million for transfer fee and salary.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) January 10, 2017
If Blanco’s move to the Timbers works out, the Timbers would be getting a versatile, veteran attacking player on the tail end of the prime of his career.
Blanco started off with Lanus, getting his first professional contract as an eighteen-year-old and playing alongside Diego Valeri from 2005 until Valeri departed in 2009. Blanco then left Argentina himself and played with Ukrainian side Metalist and English side West Brom before returning to Argentina to join San Lorenzo in 2015.
Throughout his career, Blanco has put up modest scoring numbers, most recently notching nine goals and eight assists over the course of his 73 games with San Lorenzo and contributing at a similar clip with Metalist where he fourteen goals and recorded ten assists in 96 games. Neither of those totals will set the imaginations of Timbers fans ablaze, but the team will certainly be hoping that a reunion with Valeri will lead to numbers more like his time with Lanus, when Blanco was contributing a goal or an assist every three games, compared to every four or more later in his career.
Equally importantly, Blanco’s ability to play on either flank or in the middle of the pitch would give the Timbers some flexibility in how they set up their attack and where they line up Darlington Nagbe, potentially putting the mercurial midfielder back in his most offensively productive left wing position.