January 4th, 2013 by Michael Orr
Portland Timbers have signed midfielder Diego Valeri on a one-year loan from Club Atlético Lanús. The 26-year old (who turns 27 on May 1) has been loaned out twice before, once in Portugal where he played twelve times for FC Porto, and once in Spain, where he featured nine times for Almería in La Liga. Valeri has won both Apertura and Clausura titles at Lanús since joining as a teenager in 2003. At 5’10″, Valeri is a good sized midfielder who has played both as a no. 10 and on the right side in the Argentine league and is regarded as an attacking player. He is already in Portland, having traveled from Argentina on Wednesday in order to complete a physical, as confirmed today by Lanús.
The loan will last for the entirety of the 2013 season and will reportedly cost Portland $400,000. Consistent with the club’s policy, there is an option to purchase Valeri at the conclusion of his loan deal. Though that decision is a year away, he would almost certainly command Designated Player status in order to remain with the Timbers full-time.
A player with Valeri’s skill set has been a glaring weakness for Portland in its two MLS seasons. A midfielder with naturally offensive instincts should give Diego Chará the opportunity to play his preferred role in the middle of the field while freeing Darlington Nagbe to play as a forward again. With Will Johnson also making big money in central midfield, Jack Jewsbury is likely to shift to right back or be relegated to the bench.
UPDATE – According to Lanús, Valeri will return to Argentina on Sunday for ten days to prepare his work visa. Timbers players and coaches report to Portland for training camp on Saturday January 19. Training camp formally opens Monday January 21.