Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter is hoping that his latest defensive signing can be a big presence in the back line for the long-term.
The Timbers announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed long-time English Premier League defender Liam Ridgewell to a multiyear contract as the team’s third Designated Player. The 29-year-old defender’s signing will become official pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate and P-1 visa.
“Moving into the summer transfer window it was no secret we were looking to strengthen our squad with a top-level defender, and we are extremely pleased to announce the signing of Liam Ridgewell,” Porter said in a statement. “Liam is still in his prime at only 29-years old and he’s been playing game in and out in the English Premier League versus many of the top attacking players in the world. This pedigree, along with his leadership qualities and technical ability as a left-sided central defender, makes him an ideal choice to enhance our backline for the second half of the season and beyond.”
Ridgewell last season played in 33 EPL matches for West Brom, scoring one goal. Ridgewell previously played with Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Ridgewell joins midfielder Diego Valeri and forward Fanendo Adi as Portland’s three DPs.
Here are some more notes from around MLS:
XAVI LINKED ONCE MORE WITH MOVE TO NYC FC
Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez looked all but set to move to Qatari club Al Arabi, but now those plans are up in the air.
According to reports in Spain, Al Arabi have withdrawn their offer to Xavi, leaving him in a bit of limbo heading into the summer. The same reports say that Xavi’s representatives are negotiating with another Qatari club, El Jaish, but that if Xavi decides against going to the Arab Gulf, he could take up the offer from New York City FC.
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Xavi has received a verbal offer from Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano to join NYC FC, likely as a Designated Player. Xavi’s former Barcelona and Spain national team teammate David Villa has already completed a move to NYC FC as a Designated Player, possibly helping the club’s chances of landing Xavi.
Salary figures seem to be an issue however. The report states that Xavi is likely to make upwards of 8 million euros ($10.9 million) per season playing in Qatar, while the maximum that NYC FC could offer is 6 million euros ($8.2 million).
FC DALLAS COMPLETE SANCHEZ TRANSFER TO TIGRES UANL
FC Dallas Homegrown Player signing Richard Sanchez has finally completed a transfer move to Tigres UANL. The transfer was initially reported over a year ago.
While FC Dallas did not disclose details of the transfer, sources told SBI in May 2013 that the deal was worth $1 million in transfer fees and that it was a full transfer.
The 20-year-old California-born goalkeeper had yet to make a competitive appearance for FC Dallas but he’s been a regular for both the Mexico Under-17 and U-20 national teams, competing in qualification matches as well as the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup and the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
IMPACT PART WAYS WITH RIVAS
Nelson Rivas’ latest injury has given him a one-way ticket out of town.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Montreal Impact announced that they have removed the Colombian defender from their roster, after he limped off just two minutes into the Impact’s road Canadian Championship match against Toronto FC on May 25.
Despite being the Impact’s first MLS signing in 2011, Rivas made just 11 appearances in that first year and didn’t play in a single regular season match for the club in each of the last two years due to injuries.
Impact sporting director Nick De Santis told MLSSoccer.com that there was a mutual agreement in place that if Rivas was hurt again, the player and club would go their separate ways.
“When he got hurt in Toronto, he understood that it was time to look at what’s ahead of him in his career,” De Santis said. “For us, there was an agreement that, should he get hurt, we had to think of something else, of other players to replace him. He’s not on the roster anymore, but there was already a mutual agreement.”
CHIVAS USA SIGN JAPANESE DEFENDER
In somewhat surprising news on Tuesday afternoon, Chivas USA announced that they’ve added a veteran defender with World Cup experience to their back line.
Chivas USA on Tuesday signed former Japanese international Akira Kaji from J-League side Gamba Osaka. The deal will become official pending the receipt of Kaji’s international transfer certificate and his P-1 visa.
“Akira is a very experienced player who is going to help us solidify our back four,” Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera said in a statement. “He brings World Cup experience along with an impressive career in a league that is very strong, athletic, competitive and that has a very fast pace.
“He is a very technical and smart player capable of not only defending but also distributing and possessing the ball when going forward. We are very happy to have Akira join Chivas USA as his addition will strengthen our team in all aspects.”
Kaji earned 64 caps in his career with the Japanese national team and was part of the squad at the 2006 World Cup, 2003 and 2005 Confederations Cups, and the 2004 Asian Cup title-winning squad.
What do you think of this news? Do you believe Ridgewell is the defender Porter has been looking for? What are NYC FC’s chances of landing Xavi? Do you wish Sanchez had been given a chance to start for FC Dallas?
Share your thoughts below.