It’s fair to say that Wednesday has been quite the busy day for Portland Timbers and Thorns owner Merritt Paulson, general manager Gavin Wilkinson, and the rest of the soccer operations department.
Just a few hours after the Portland Thorns announced a trio of trades that saw Emily Sonnett, Caitlin Foord, and Midge Purce traded to different NWSL teams across the country, it seems as if the Timbers will be making headlines of their own.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ian Quillen of MLSsoccer.com compiled reports that the Timbers agreed to terms with 24-year-old striker Jaroslaw Niezgoda.
Rumors connecting the Timbers with the Legia striker first surfaced last week, and they certainly make sense. Finding a replacement for Brian Fernandez up top is the most obvious offseason need for Giovanni Savarese’s side.
Niezgoda would appear a capable replacement, having already cemented his third double-digit goal season in his domestic league. Prior to this season, his previous career best was 13 goals in 27 appearances during the 2017-18 season, according to Soccerway.
According to reports out of Poland, while the contract has been agreed to, it will be tricky—or at least relatively expensive—to convince Legia Warsaw to let their striker go.
Niezgoda currently has fourteen goals to his name this season and has played a large role in helping Legia build a two-point lead atop Poland’s Ekstaklasa.
The report also stated that Legia could be asking for $5 million along with a portion of any future transfer, which would almost certainly make Niezgoda Portland’s third designated player.
This report, meanwhile, indicates Niezgoda has told Legia that he wants the move, repeats the $5 million transfer fee number, and indicates PTFC has agreed on salary terms with Niezgoda to start at $750k with $150k annual increases. #RCTID https://t.co/J49p2jSgXg— Chris Rifer (@ChrisRifer) January 8, 2020
An additional publication out of Poland reported that the Timbers’ offer is currently over $4 million, but noted French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux is also setting its sights on the number nine.
If the transfer does go through, Niezgoda will become the latest signing of a Timbers’ offseason that already includes the addition of DP Yimmi Chara, as well as the extensions of Steve Clark, Bill Tuiloma, and Diego Valeri.
The Timbers needed to add a striker after terminating Fernandez’ contract in November. Jeremy Ebobisse finished the 2019 season with eleven goals playing alongside Fernandez; hopefully a potential pairing with Niezgoda will yield similar results.