Real Salt Lake bolstered their attack just ahead of the closure of the MLS Primary Transfer Window on Monday, announcing on Tuesday morning the acquisition of young Venezuelan striker Jefferson Savarino on loan from Zulia FC in his homeland.
Savarino, 20, will occupy a Young Designated Player spot on RSL’s roster and is expected to join the team in training Tuesday. He will be added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate. Venezuelan media outlets had previously reported that he was en route to Utah on Sunday.
“Jefferson [pronounced "YEFF-er-son"] adds a new dynamic to our roster and continues to challenge the depth of our squad,” RSL general manager Craig Waibel said in a club release. “He is young and we will assimilate him into the team as quickly as possible, but his performance at Copa Libertadores shows that he is able to compete and deliver at a high level despite his age.”
Savarino has notched 22 goals and 12 assists in 48 matches in the Venezuelan Primera Division and also added one goal in four matches in this year’s Copa Libertadores, an international tournament featuring the top teams from around South America. He was promoted from Zulia’s U-20 team to the first team in January of 2015, at age 18.
“Jefferson is someone we’ve been tracking from our scouting department to the first team staff and we’ve done a great deal of research on him. He has a lot of talent and a lot of upside,” RSL head coach Mike Petke said.
“We’re excited to have him come in here and help the team win games, but also to have him along with the other wide players to push each other and help each other. There will be an adjustment period, as usually happens with players from different countries, but we’re looking at the long-term prospect of a young kid who is doing very well right now and we hope and expect him to make the next step.”