Portland Timbers sign Brian Fernandez from Necaxa as Designated Player
The Portland Timbers have acquired forward Brian Fernandez from Necaxa, the clubs announced on Monday.
ESPN FC sources didn't divulge the precise fee, but they did reveal that it dwarfs the previous club record of close to $5 million the Timbers paid for Lucas Melano back in 2017, though it's not as high as the $12 million previously reported.
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"We are delighted to sign a player of Brian Fernandez' caliber, at a stage in his career where we feel he is already a proven player yet still has his best years in front of him and room to grow as a player," said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson.
"Brian has demonstrated the ability to overcome adversity during his career and his commitment to the game, his family and his belief in his ability has helped him develop into an exciting, highly skilled attacking threat with very good clubs in multiple leagues. He is a quality player and will add a different look to our team, and we are thrilled to welcome him to Portland."
Fernandez, 24, can play either as a central striker or on the wing. The signing also concludes the Timbers' lengthy and at-times public search for a new attacking piece, which saw them linked with the likes of the Tigres duo of Julian Quinones and Eduardo Vargas, as well as AEK Athens' on-loan attacker Ezequiel Ponce.
Sources also suggest that Fernandez will not have to serve out the remaining two games of a three-game suspension he recently was handed following a red card and then a subsequent altercation with a fan as he left the field, though MLS will ultimately have the final say.
"We are very pleased to welcome Brian Fernandez to our team," said Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese. "Brian is a player who possesses many different attacking qualities that can cause issues for the opposition. He has shown the ability to unlock defenses and score goals in a variety of ways throughout his career, and, while we view him as a forward with our immediate group, his versatility and ability to play in different positions and systems gives us further tactical flexibility and options."
While it was an ignominious end to his time at Necaxa, Fernandez's stint with Los Rayos resurrected his career. While on the books of Racing Club, Fernandez was suspended for a year by CONMEBOL following a failed drug test in which he tested positive for cocaine.
A series of loan stints followed with the likes of Sarmiento, Metz and Union La Calera, but his time with Necaxa proved highly productive, with the Argentine scoring 12 goals in 15 games during the current Clausura. Overall, Fernandez scored 18 goals in 32 league and cup appearances.
Fernandez joins the Timbers with three games remaining in Portland's season-opening 12-game road swing due to renovations at its home venue, Providence Park.
The Timbers have so far gone 3-5-1 and sit in ninth place in the 12-team Western Conference.