According to Sam Stejskal, National Writer for MLSsoccer.com, Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi has requested a transfer, preferably as a trade to another MLS team. Portland is “currently engaged in trade discussions with several teams around the league,” to get a deal done before the secondary transfer window closes on August 8.
The 27-year-old was on pace to become the all-time leading scorer for the Timbers across all eras last year before sustaining an injury against the LA Galaxy in August. Adi missed the final 11 games of the 2017 season, including the playoff series loss to Houston. this year, Adi has struggled to acclimate to Savarese’s system, posting MLS lows in shots and goals but a marked increase in offside violations.
Adi’s apparent preference is to stay in the league potentially complicates matters for Portland. As a DP, Adi would need to find a team with an available DP slot. While it is possible to use allocation money to pay down a player’s salary below the DP threshold, there are rules preventing this for any player earning beyond $1.5 million. Adi’s salary exceeds the $1.5 million cap, according to salary information from the MLS Player’s Union.
Besides needing to find a DP slot, clubs interested in Adi should know that Adi’s DP status means Portland would get the lion’s share of the transfer fee should the team sell him. Per Stejskal:
“Because Adi is a DP, Portland would receive 100 percent of any transfer fee until they recoup all out-of-pocket payments they’ve made to him since he joined the club. After those payments are recouped, Portland would receive 75 percent of whatever is left of the fee and the league would collect the remaining 25 percent. The Timbers would only be able to turn the latter part of their cut of the fee – the 75 percent after all out-of-pocket payments are collected – into General Allocation Money. The sources expected that amount to be low, perhaps even non-existent.”
In other words, if Adi receives a transfer to a different league, the Timbers look to be receiving a substantial portion of the resulting transfer fee.
These constrictions could potentially limit what the Timbers can reasonably expect to get for one of the league’s most prolific goal scorers who is still in the prime of his career.
The problem in the MLS landscape is this: the teams that need a striker and have an available DP slot are few and far between. At the same time, the Timbers might be willing or even looking to take on prospects but, as the Nagbe trade demonstrated, player-for-player trades have been gone the way of the backwards ticking clock with most teams looking to trade allocation dollars.
Does Adi’s DP status subject Portland to sell Adi for pennies on the dollar? Which team makes the most sense for Adi? Should Portland consider looking abroad?