Confirming a report from yesterday, the Portland Timbers announced today that they have signed Croatian center back Dario Zuparic to a multi-year contract. The transfer fee was not announced, but Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) was utilized in the signing. Zuparic will occupy an international slot on the Timbers senior roster.
The signing was first reported yesterday in a report from Jeff Carlisle of ESPN:
Sources tell ESPN that the Portland Timbers have signed HNK Rijeka center back Dario Zuparic. He'll remain with Rijeka until start of winter break in mid-December, then join up with Portland in January: https://t.co/MVf2Gsbexu #RCTID— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) November 19, 2019
Zuparic, a 27 year-old center back who represented Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the youth international level, previously played for Italian Serie B club Pescara, helping them earn promotion to Serie A in 2016. He was loaned to Hijeka in 2017, with the move later being made permanent.
In an interview last month Timbers owner, Merritt Paulson, identified that the team had plans to add a central defender this offseason, and it looks like Zuparic was the player they had identified. Due to his age and the utilization of TAM for the signing, it is expected that Zuparic will challenge for a starting spot in central defense, and also add quality depth to a position that was hit hard by injuries in 2019.