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Revolution trade Claude Dielna to Portland for a pittance

revolution defender claude dielna
Sep 23, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; Toronto FC forward Jordan Hamilton (22) eyes a loose ball behind New England Revolution defender Claude Dielna (44) during the second half of the New England Revolution's 2-1 win over Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution off-loaded fringe defender Claude Dielna on Wednesday afternoon by trading him to the Portland Timbers for at least $100,000 in general allocation money.

Though the Revolution declined Dielna’s option at the end of the last season, they still retained his MLS rights, which prevented the Timbers from freely claiming the player. Terms of Wednesday’s deal also stipulate the Timbers pay the Revs an additional $100,000 in allocation money should he get traded again and play for another team in the league.

Portland emerged as a potential destination for the former Revolution captain during last Friday’s Superdraft.

That he’s been sold for so little is a reminder of how he went from being a key player on New England’s back line to an outcast who couldn’t even make the bench within a year and a half.

The Revolution acquired Dielna, 31, on a free transfer in July 2017. He mostly played as a central defender but also spent time at left back. He showed some promise, but looked out of place for much of his time in Foxborough and never seemed to justify his almost six-figure salary (which the MLS Players Union pegged at $909,861 in 2018).

That said, Dielna drew some early confidence from Revs head coach Brad Friedel, who made the Frenchman team captain last preseason.

Dielna joined the Revs with a decent résumé and for a time helped stabilize the team’s back line. Dielna’s role on the team diminished relatively fast. A number of poor performances – particularly New England’s much-dreaded 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Gillette Stadium last June – caused Friedel to remove Dielna’s captaincy and take him out of the match 18. Friedel then moved to replace Dielna by signing English center back Michael Mancienne, now the highest-paid defender in MLS with a salary of $1,370,268, according to the MLS Players Union. 

Portland seems to believe it can resurrect Dielna’s form. Dielna played for a number of well-established clubs in Europe, including Sheffield Wednesday, Ajaccio and Lorient. Portland assistant coach Carlos Llamosa, a former Revs defender who was on New England’s staff in 2017, also got to see Dielna up close and may have played a role in evaluating whether the transfer made sense for the Timbers.

On the flipside, New England, gets a small fee for what was once an albatross of waste on its roster.

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