SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake general manager Craig Waibel’s biggest responsibility this offseason has finally been accomplished. He found a replacement at attacking midfielder in the Young DP signing Albert Rusnak.
With Rusnak officially slated to fill the void left by the departed club legend Javier Morales, Waibel will begin the second phase of his offseason – adding some of the more “industrious” pieces of his team's 2017 roster.
Those additions, along with the signing of the 22-year-old Rusnak, will set up RSL for a long time to come, Waibel hopes.
“We feel very confident that we built a sustainable roster,” Waibel said. “We’re very close to almost reinventing the roster in getting another group in that could be here for a long time.”
The next steps will involve more immediate decisions like re-signing players with an eye towards the next few years and finding complementary pieces to make RSL even more dynamic.
Waibel put those future signings into two categories: special players and role players. As a role player for most of his 11 playing seasons in MLS, he said he knows what to look for. When it comes to the special players, he and the RSL staff need to be wowed.
“Any special players we bring in have to be exponentially better than what we have right now,” Waibel said.
On that note, there is a familiar face that is rumored to be in RSL’s sights. Waibel revealed that former RSL and current Tigres UANL midfielder Luis Silva is in discussions with the club but a deal has not been finalized.
“It’s in Tigres’ hands now,” Waibel said. “We have had conversations through Luis’ agents that we feel very confident it will get done.”
“I have reached out to his people since the day he left,” Waibel said. “We were never interested in having him leave. At no point have we stopped our interest in having him here. When I traded for him it wasn’t to have him for four months, it was to have him here for a long time.”
Aside from Silva, Waibel said the need for depth, especially in the center of the field, is next on his list with less than a month before preseason camp and eight weeks until the MLS opener.