Costa Rican forward Álvaro Saborío has agreed to a loan deal with Real Salt Lake and has joined the team for its preseason camp in Charleston, S.C.
RSL is currently in Charleston for the Carolina Challenge Cup, and Saborío is eligible to play in the tourney, pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and work visa.
The loan from Swiss club FC Sion had been rumored for several days.
"We are energized that our pursuit of a striker has reached a successful conclusion with the addition of Álvaro Saborío," RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey said. "We still have a few steps to complete in obtaining his player pass and securing a work permit, but if we are able to accomplish those steps we are cautiously optimistic Álvaro could be available to play early in the season."
Saborio is considered a forward replacement for Yura Movsisyan, who left to join a Danish club Randers after MLS Cup 2009. The Costa Rican will team up with Robbie Findley in attack for RSL.
"I’m excited to join Real Salt Lake and look forward to a great season ahead," said Saborío, who has netted 22 goals in 55 appearances for Costa Rica. "I’m busy learning about the other players, the coaching staff and the way the club functions, and once I become comfortable in the team I expect good things to happen."
Sion had loaned Saborío to English Championship side Bristol City before the close of the 2009 summer transfer window. On February 17 of this year, Bristol City confirmed that the loan spell would be cut short.
Saborío, who turns 28 this month and is fluent in English, scored only two goals in 21 matches for Bristol.
Bristol City’s official site quoted the club’s manager as saying the player had problems in Costa Rica and requested to cancel his loan deal. The manager pointed to his family situation as the direct culprit for a loss of form.
"He became a shadow of himself and if you're not mentally up for the Championship then it stands out like a sore thumb,” said Bristol City manager Gary Johnson. "It must be a big problem to cut your career short and return home."
In early March it was rumored in Costa Rica that Saborío would be making the move to Seattle Sounders FC.
He joined Sion after the 2006 World Cup, scoring 36 goals in 87 appearances for the Swiss club.
Published reports had his contract with Sion running through 2011. His contractual rights were jointly held by both Sion and Costa Rican side Saprissa, but the Swiss team had the power to negotiate his contract.
Saborío trained with Saprissa as he awaited confirmation of his move to MLS.