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Timbers reportedly close to signing Estudiantes midfielder David Ayala

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Ayala, a 19 year-old Argentine youth international, could be the Timbers’ long-term replacement plan for Diego Chara.

Estudiantes v River Plate - Torneo Liga Profesional 2021 Photo by Gustavo Garello/Jam Media/Getty Images

After a relatively quiet start to the offseason, it seems like the Portland Timbers are close to their first big-money signing of the winter. According to multiple sources, the Timbers are close to acquiring 19 year-old Estudiantes de la Plata midfielder and Argentina youth international David Ayala.

As Cesar Luis Merlo reports, Ayala has already made 33 professional appearances in the Argentine first division, and at 19, the defensive midfielder would be an ideal candidate to eventually succeed Diego Chara, who today signed a multi-year contract extension. As Tom Bogert states, the deal is at an advanced stage, but not finalized. Ayala would occupy one of Portland’s U22 Initiative spots for the 2022 MLS season.

The Timbers were first linked to Ayala back in August 2021, so there appears to be a fire where there’s smoke with this transfer.

If the Timbers do end up signing Ayala it will be very interesting to see how he fits into Portland’s midfield in 2022, considering Cristhian Paredes’ surge in performances during the latter half of the 2021 season and with Eryk Williamson and Andy Polo set to return to action at some point during the upcoming season.

Nevertheless, Ayala is a very exciting prospect and this is a rumor to keep your eyes on in the coming days/weeks.