The second part in the series we take a look at players from Italy's Serie A that Portland management could potentially pick up as designated players this summer to beef up the squad in anticipation of a playoff and cup run this year.
There are some live prospects this year due to all the relegation drama of the 2015 season in Serie A. Teams are cutting players they can not afford and bigger teams are off-loading players to grab big name players. This is a prime opportunity for an MLS side to pick up some excellent players with plenty of life left on the field.
The Argentine striker would be at home in Portland with the lively Argentine population on the team; Bergessio should have no issues fitting in with many of his countrymen. At thirty years old Bergessio is no young gun, but he has not had tons of damage on him in his career and is a leave it all out on the pitch sort of player even to this day.
Bergessio has struggled to find playing time this past season getting about seven-hundred minutes this past season. Currently, Bergessio has a free contract up for grabs and many are hearing rumors of being courted by Argentine clubs at the moment, with San Lorenzo being one of the clubs named.
Bergessio could easily be grabbed up by Portland: his wages fit and he has loads of life in him. A pacey, dynamic player who is fierce on the ball and loves take advantage of defensive errors, Bergessio is excellent at playing the counter. At 5'10", he is not a towering figure, but even at thirty his pace has not left him and he will push himself for his team. While he is no longer prime-Bergessio, he is an immense player. (recent highlights).
The Algerian center-forward has been let go by his former club Parma due to their relegation this season. This may not sound like the greatest news for Portland fans, but he is potentially a great pick up. At twenty-three, Belfodil is in his prime and many people suggested in the last post they would be interested in younger guys they can take a chance with and hold onto at the club for years to come.
Belfodil is an incredibly strong player who is hard to move off the ball and will steal it at will. A towering, 6'3" figure, Belfodil can impose himself on the pitch. At times, Belfodil has struggled to find the net at the top of Serie A with his foot but his head seemed to be golden.
With that his salary is seeming to be around four million euros and it may take more to sway him to MLS but it is possible. Some have suggested he would be more suited as an attacking mid who moves up for headers due to his passing skills and vision so he could be slotted into a few different positions with Portland. (recent highlights)
Henry Damián Giménez
Uruguayan striker Giménez is twenty-nine years old. A smaller striker at 5'9", Giménez is known for his pace. Giménez has been on loan at Nacional, a team based out of Uruguay, for the past year but is on a free contract currently and ready for a new home.
At a most recent salary of 350 thousand euros, he might be a huge steal, particularly if the Timbers could find a way to bring him in for sub-DP wages. For a guy under thirty with Serie A experience at that price he might be the diamond in the rough Portland needs.
The combination of his proven ability, value, and availability are a perfect storm for a pick up right now. Signing Giménez under the DP cost would be even more of a home run and arguably has more potential than most of the older strikers we have looked at. (older highlights)
The oldest player on this list, Cassano is unquestionably the most accomplished free agent Portland could grab from Serie A. Also, there is no doubt he is the most fluid and technical on the ball: his touch is still amazing at 32 years old. The angle to take with him is not to expect five solid years out of him, but three and have him mentor some of the Timbers' up and coming players.
Anything more than three is just a cherry on top and the help he can give players like Urutti, Adi, and others could really add to the team and should be considered valuable in its own right. Cassano is not the paciest or the most physical player, but he has a knack for scoring goals and a beautiful touch on the ball that would certainly be welcomed in Portland. There might be issues with language barriers as he has played the majority of his career in Italy and Spain, but that can be overcome. It is likely he speaks Spanish and there is a solid Spanish speaking contingent in the team that could help him along the way.
It must be said that Cassano has had injury woes in the past but lately has been healthy. Cassano comes at a pretty high price tag of 3.5 million euros and is the opposite of Belfodil in expectations, but he holds similar if not more value in developing the team. (recent highlights)
Another young gun from Parma that is being sold to offset costs going down to Serie B, Coda is a hair over six feet with solid pace and lots of strength; traits Portland could really take advantage of. Coda is still under contract until the 30th of this month but will become a free agent then.
Great at both feeding the ball into his compadres and getting in the box and blasting it between the posts, Coda plays striker but can also sit back behind a target forward or work on the wings. Coda is a versatile attacking player with youth on his side.
Coda's price is also appealing at 1.5 million euros, making him the best mix of youth, value, technical ability, and willingness to play on this list. Coda could be a franchise player that could make huge waves for a team like Portland for years to come. More than likely it would take lots of persuading and negotiating to bring Coda to the U.S., but he would be a major grab for Portland.
Also the (very, very slim) possibility of signing Cassano and Coda would be quite fun as well since they were a solid pairing in Serie A as you can see above. (recent highlights)
Serie A comes in with some great prospects for Portland to pick up during the summer. Most comes at a better value with the same ability level or higher than the list of BPL players we covered earlier here. Let us know if I missed someone or what you think of these players. Also, let me know which league you would like to see done next.