Editorial (February 17, 2019) – Portland Timbers fans are becoming impatient. They want the Front Office to make a big splash in the transfer market. The Front Office has finally responded.
Why Portland Won’t Be Overpaying For Eduardo Vargas
Over the past few days, reports have been coming through that the Timbers made what is close to a $10m offer to Tigres of Liga MX for striker Eduardo Vargas. Though the deal isn’t finalized, this transfer could send ripples through the Western Conference.
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) February 13, 2019
Vargas is a 29-year-old Chilean international. With his national team, he has scored an impressive 35 goals in 82 appearances. People have been critical of his club performances at Tigres, though. In 92 appearances, Vargas has scored 27 goals and assisted nine times. Because of his lack of productivity at Tigres, journalists and MLS fans alike think Portland is overspending for the Chilean. I, on the other hand, disagree.
Currently, Portland has an incredible attacking midfield. Both Blanco and Valeri can take over games on their own. On the right day, the two are unstoppable together. One thing that held up Valeri and Blanco’s productivity last year was the lack of a striker that supports their playing style. Armenteros, though flashy and exciting, was inconsistent beyond belief. Ebobisse, though promising, is too young to lead the line and too inexperienced to be the playmaking striker this Timbers side needs.
Vargas, though, has the ability to be that player. Though he doesn’t have the ability to get behind the line and finish, the Chilean international likes to make quick layoff passes. This will allow him to link up well with the likes of Blanco, Valeri, Melano, etc. His ability to cross the ball plays into his capability to create for others as well.
With Tigres, Vargas has also played in the midfield as more of a shadow striker/attacking midfielder. This creates some interesting flexibility that head coach Savarese could play with. Firstly, this creates a dynamic in-game rotation that would allow for movement between the front four. Secondly, this can create different tactical and personnel changes prior to kickoff. If Savarese sees an advantage at playing Ebobisse up front, Vargas can fall back into the midfield and create a deep-lying threat.
Is Vargas alone with a $10m transfer fee? No, probably not. But is Vargas worth a $10m transfer fee to the Portland Timbers in their search for a DP striker that fits their system? 100% yes.