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Hot Stove: Timbers Reportedly Strike Deal for Polo

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Peru v New Zealand - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Playoff Photo by Daniel Apuy/Getty Images

The Portland Timbers have identified their man, and if reports out of Peru are correct they’re on the brink of getting him.

After a day of conflicting rumors on Thursday, Friday afternoon brought firm reports that the Timbers are on the verge of signing Peruvian international winger Andy Polo from Monarcas Morelia. We gave an overview on Polo last week.

The report indicates the Timbers are set to obtain Polo from Morelia in exchange for a $2.5 million transfer fee. In addition the report indicates Polo will not take part in Morelia’s Clausura-opening visit to Monterrey on Saturday in anticipation of the transfer.

In a fuller report, Libero.pe indicates the transfer will be complete within hours. Depor.com contacted Monarcas Morelia president, Alvaro Davila, who said although there was nothing concrete, a move was likely.

Given Davila’s quasi-confirmation, it appears very likely a deal for Polo is going to happen. It’s harder, however, to gauge the accuracy of the other details of the reports.

The annual limit a team can spend on a TAM-level player in $1.5 million. Thus, a straight-up $2.5 million transfer fee would be prohibitive for a TAM player.

There is, however, one potential area of flexibility. In general, each team can designate one special discovery player (SDP) whose acquisition cost can be amortized over the length of his contract. The maximum acquisition cost for an SDP, however, is $500,000. So, even if the Timbers have capacity for another SDP, Polo couldn’t qualify under that rule.

The prefatory clause to the SDP rule, though, could provide a hint as to how a TAM player could be acquired on a $2.5 million transfer fee:

In general, the total amount of the acquisition cost of a player is charged against the salary budget in the year in which it is paid.

A team using TAM, therefore, may be able to fit a transfer fee that exceeds the annual single-player TAM cap if that transfer fee is to be paid over the course of more than one year. Thus, although we can’t know if the reported $2.5 million transfer fee is correct, we also can’t altogether discount it simply on account of the TAM rules.

In other words, we’re going to have to wait to see what else comes out about the details of the Polo transfer. But, as of now, it appears the transfer may be happening.