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Reports: Portland Timbers to Sign Yimmi Chara

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Colombia at Venezuela Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers have made a handful of moves so far this offseason, bringing in a new center back and securing the services of Steve Clark and Diego Valeri chief among them, but there is still plenty of work to be done before Gavin Wilkinson and company are done building a side that will compete in 2020. Now reports are circulating that the Timbers are looking to bring in winger Yimmi Chara, younger brother of Timbers legend Diego Chara, from Brazilian side Clube Atlético Mineiro.

The move, which has been rumored in previous years as well, was reported last week by Brazilian-Canadian journalist Alexandre Ernst, saying that Chara would be negotiating with Major League Soccer rather than several other options.

Then, over the weekend, Colombian journalist Diego Rueda also reported that Chara would be playing in Portland.

Both reports were given credence by sightings of Chara in Portland over the weekend.

Chara, 28, is a wide-midfielder and a winger known more for his ability in stretching the field and moving the ball than his scoring prowess. Although he has most recently lined up at right wing in a 4-3-3, Chara is comfortable playing on either flank or as a second striker when called upon.

After spending much of his career with Mexico’s Monterrey being loaned out to other clubs, Chara was sent to Colombian side Junior FC on a reported $4.56 million transfer for the 2017/18 season during which he scored ten goals and provided four assists. Chara then made the move to Brazil’s Mineiro on a reported $5.87 million transfer for the second half of the 2018 season.

In 22 games with Mineiro during his first season, Chara recorded one goal and seven assists. In his second year with the side, Chara notched three goals and an assist in eighteen games before going down with an injury in late September and losing his starting spot for the remainder of the year with rumors of his departure at the end of the season already circulating.

Over the course of his career, Chara has managed ten caps with the Colombian Men’s National Team. His most recent call ups came in late 2018 and early 2019 and included a substitution appearance in Colombia’s 4-2 friendly win over the USMNT.

How Chara would fit into this Timbers side remains to be seen. Chara’s recent transfer fees and call ups to the Colombian national team make it hard to believe that he would join the Timbers on a sub-DP deal, but with a new collective bargaining agreement on the horizon for MLS and plenty of strange roster mechanisms to be explored it is difficult to completely rule it out as a possibility.

On the field, Chara seems to compete with players like Andy Polo and Dairon Asprilla for the starting spot at right wing, while also providing cover for Sebastian Blanco on the left or giving the diminutive Argentine the chance to shift inside should Diego Valeri relinquish his No. 10 role.