Perfectly-timed pitch leads to record-breaking $10m deal for MLS club
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Success Stories
Perfectly-timed pitch leads to record-breaking $10m deal for MLS club
by Jonathan Rest

Evander swapped FC Midtjylland for Portland Timbers after the buying club outlined their needs to 700+ decision makers globally, with the Danish side providing the perfect pitch.

Evander had a lot of interest from MLS for the last two or three years, so for us it made a lot of sense to react to the advert. I tried out the pitch because I wanted to see if it would create something special.
Kristian Kjaer
Director of Recruitment & Head of Sports Law, FC Midtjylland

Sharing requirements leads to deal success

 

With a valuable Designated Player slot opening up on their roster for the 2023 Major League Soccer season, Portland Timbers had to get their big signing right.

 

By sharing their exact requirements in an instant with hundreds of clubs on TransferRoom, the Timbers knew they would end up with more and better options without wasting valuable time making calls and relying on the contacts of third parties to identify player availability.

 

Timbers had a few parameters in mind when they targeted a creative midfielder: ideally aged between 23 and 25, with experience playing in Europe, but not in one of the continent’s Big Five leagues who would have proved out of their price range.

 

Subsequently, the advert for a number 10 with desired transfer fee and salary capabilities went live on TransferRoom.

 

Pitch feature can drive up transfer fee

 

Midtjylland were quick to act. 

 

With access to club requirements in real-time, they got an alert that Timbers were looking for a player profile similar to one of their players.

 

Aware of previous interest from MLS clubs in Evander, Midtjylland knew the market and time was right to cash in on the 24-year-old after four successful seasons in Denmark.

 

By pitching directly to an ad, they were also able to propose a higher transfer fee which led to the clubs eventually negotiating, including meeting at a TransferRoom Summit in-person towards the end of 2022.

 

Kristian Berlin

FC Midtjylland's Kristian Kjaer at the TransferRoom Summit in Berlin

 

What transpired was a transfer for around $10m, the largest outlay ever for the Timbers, one of FCM’s biggest ever sales and among the top 10 most expensive incoming deals in MLS history. 

 

Kristian Kjaer, Director of Recruitment & Head of Sports Law at Midtjylland, told TransferRoom: “We'd had direct contact with Ned Grabavoy [Timbers General Manager] before. We have known each other a while, and then of course I made the pitch for Evander on TransferRoom. Then there was contact between Portland Timbers and FC Midtjylland and also between Portland Timbers and the family of Evander [his father is his agent]. 

 

“They came to visit us in Denmark, we had meetings with them and they wanted to send us an offer. Of course they informed us they had agreed terms with the player, and then it became a negotiation over a period of time to find out if the ends could meet and find a solution that everybody was happy about.”

 

The total transfer value, with add-ons included, could actually exceed the price in the original pitch sent by Midtjylland.

 

Kjaer continued: “Personally, I don’t like to pitch one player for a fixed amount of money because it depends from club to club, market to market. There are many different indicators that go into what the transfer fee is. 

 

“Evander had a lot of interest from MLS for the last two or three years, so for us it made a lot of sense to react to the advert. I tried out the pitch because I wanted to see if it would create something special.”

 

Timbers finally get their man

 

Receiving that pitch caused excitement to run through Timbers’ recruitment department. After all, this was a name they were well aware of.

 

A scout for the MLS club first came across the Brazilian in 2019, when the then 21-year-old attacking midfielder stood out on a cold, wet night in the Danish Superliga.

 

With two experienced players already in the squad in that position, the timing wasn’t quite right for the Timbers, but they kept on top of Evander’s progress over the years as he made significant contributions for Midtjylland in domestic and European competitions.

 

Ned Grabavoy edited

Timbers' deal-maker Ned Grabavoy at the TransferRoom Summit Berlin

 

Now, one simple ad opened up to clubs all over the world put Evander back on the Timbers' radar and contracted to the club until at least 2026.

 

Grabavoy told the Timbers website: “Looking at the profiles we had built and parameters we had in place, [Evander] was a name that quickly made its way to the top of our charts in terms of interest level.”

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