When Portland traded long-time Timber Mamadou “Futty” Danso earlier today, it looked like a means, not an ends. While the Gambian central defender has struggled this year, he’s was also the team’s longest tenured player. Moving him to Montréal for a second round draft pick wouldn’t have been done without an eye toward a much bigger picture.
If ESPN’s Taylor Twellman’s to be believed (and he almost always is), that biggest picture means landing a high-profile defender from England. Crippled by defensive mistakes all year, Portland has apparently been in touch with former England international Joleon Lescott, who’s been extended an offer that would make him the highest paid defender in Major League Soccer.
Filling a desperate need with a skill set that fits well within Portland’s scheme, Lescott may be the perfect fit for Portland. At the money being offered, it’s be unreasonable to expect a better defender to come to Major League Soccer. Though the team brought in Argentine Norberto Paparatto this offseason, Lescott would be the ideal way to confess the mistake (and give Paparatto more time) while addressing what’s become a debilitating problem.
The big, obvious question: Why would Lescott do it? The answer obviously depends on his other offers, but one factor that should never be underestimated when considering MLS transfers: Life in the United States can be very enticing. It’s a major reason why so many South American players end up in the U.S.. Even for Europeans, working in the U.S. can look like the opportunity of a lifetime, giving them an opportunity to establish residency and give their families a whole new set of options.
Is Lescott one of those players? Perhaps, but at 31 and coming off eight starts in the Premier League, he may be able to justify the move, regardless. Should he do so, it will spell bad news for Colorado, San Jose, and the other teams that may end up fighting with Portland for the West’s last playoff spots.