The Portland Timbers' pursuit of a Designated Player forward has led them to Tigres' Eduardo Vargas, league sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
Univision Deportes was the first to report Portland's interest in Vargas. Portland declined to comment on the story.
One source indicated that Portland's bid for Vargas is just under $10 million, though sources cautioned the deal hasn't been finalized. If the deal is completed, the transfer fee would rank among the highest in MLS history for an incoming player behind the likes of Atlanta United's Pity Martinez ($17 million), Atlanta's Ezequiel Barco ($15m), Toronto FC's Michael Bradley ($10m) and former Atlanta player Miguel Almiron ($8.75m).
Landing a DP striker has been Portland's top priority this offseason. The Timbers had previously been linked with Ezequiel Ponce -- currently on loan to AEK Athens from Serie A side Roma -- as well as Vargas' club teammate Julian Quinones. Portland made a $7m offer for Quinones in late January, but that was turned down with no counteroffer. Portland then turned its sights towards Vargas.
Vargas, 29, has been with Tigres since early 2017. In that time he has scored 27 goals in 92 league and cup appearances. Vargas got his start in 2006 in his native Chile with Cobreloa, before making his name with Universidad de Chile. From 2010-11, Vargas scored 32 goals in 79 league and cup appearances. Those performances caught the eye of Napoli who acquired the striker in 2012, but Vargas struggled for the most part, and spent most of his time on loan with Gremio, Valencia and Queens Park Rangers. He spent parts of two seasons with 1899 Hoffenheim, but scored just twice in 30 league and cup appearances.
Vargas has been more prolific at international level, making 82 appearances for Chile, scoring 35 goals. He was part of two Copa America-winning sides in 2015 and 2016, and was the top scorer at both tournaments, sharing the title in 2015 with Peru's Paolo Guerrero. In the 2016 Copa America Centenario he memorably scored four goals during Chile's 7-0 quarterfinal rout of Mexico.