The Portland Timbers have officially signed Argentine left back Claudio Nicolas Bravo from Banfield in Argentina. The transfer was first reported by Leonel Cerrudo back on October 3rd, and rumored again by Jeff Carlisle on December 3rd.
No official transfer fee was released, but the deal was definitely made using Targeted Allocation Money.
Carlisle’s reported “a transfer fee of $1 million with payments spread out over four years for 80% of Bravo’s rights,” but new reports are saying $1.5 million for 50%. This would be a downgrade in value from the initial reports, but still good value for a player that has the second-highest market value at his position in Argentina, according to Transfermarkt ($2.64 million).
The 23-year-old Bravo has recorded four assists in 56 first-team starts for Banfield over numerous competitions, including the Copa Sudamericana. He has 43 total appearances in Argentina’s Superliga, 41 of which were starts.
Bravo has also made eight appearances for Argentina’s U-23 National Team, six of which were in important CONMEBOL Olympic Qualification matches.
Overall, Bravo certainly has the first-team experience to make an instant impact in Portland.
How he fits in
Portland have already exported Homegrown talent Marco Farfan to LAFC, and are reportedly looking to do the same with veteran starter-incumbent Jorge Villafaña.
General Manager Gavin WIlkinson called his expectations of Bravo “extremely high,” continuing that “we are confident he will be a very effective and dominant left back in our league.”
Head Coach Giovanni Savarese: “His skillset is a very good balance of offense and defense at his position.”
Analytics sites and scouts seem to agree. SofaScore.com lists Bravo’s strengh as “ball control,” while his weaknesses as “discipline, error proneness, and passing.” Similarly, Whoscored.com gives him a “very strong” rating in dribbling, with other strengths in blocking, intercepting, and concentration.
On-field capabilities may remind fans of Jorge Moreira, another attack-minded outside back who was sometimes caught out of position. Bravo, though, seems like a more capable tackler and all-around defender.
There’s not much public tape on Bravo, but this video is a good indicator of his skillset. I expect the Villafaña transfer to happen and Bravo to be the bonafide starter come March.
As a general update, I’m currently constructing a massive offseason evaluation of the club, including player profiles for every incoming, departing, and current player.