Chivas USA selected veteran forward Arturo Alvarez in Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft on Monday, but the question of whether or not Alvarez will ever suit up for the club is still to be determined.
The Rojiblancos selected the 26-year-old Salvadoran international in the hope that he can rebound from one of his most disappointing seasons to date. He appeared in 16 games and notched one assist during his only season with Real Salt Lake last year, after being taken by the Portland Timbers in the Expansion Draft from San Jose and subsequently shipped to RSL.
But before Chivas can help Alvarez improve on those numbers, they have to lock him down to a deal. And that might be a tough task in itself.
“I know through the grapevine and over the years … that Arturo really wants to go to Europe,” Chivas head coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “So that possibility exists, that being out of contract, he may take the opportunity to do that. But certainly the ability or the chance to have the ability to sign him was intriguing enough to pick him up at this point.”
Alvarez could not be reached for comment, but on Monday tweeted, “Still don't know what my future holds, but glad to be picked up by Chivas USA in the re-entry draft.”
The Houston native, who was out of contract with RSL, has been extended a bona fide offer by Chivas, which according to league rules, must at least equal his 2011 salary. Contingent on personal terms being reached, such a deal would make Alvarez one of his new club's highest paid players.
“Arturo is a player that I've always liked because he has some different and special abilities to take on people and beat people,” Fraser said. “He's certainly very comfortable on the ball in the attacking end of the field, so he's a player that I've always had interest in. Even as a player, I had interest in him, so the opportunity to have the possibly to get him was intriguing.”
While Alvarez may explore opportunities outside MLS, Fraser believes that there is a possibility that the veteran striker will play a role for Chivas in 2012.
“I don't know if I'd say confident, but I'm optimistic because I would like him to,” Fraser said. “Certainly, I've heard for years that Arturo has aspirations to go overseas, so that remains to be seen.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org