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A quick Q&A with RSL technical director Craig Waibel. He spoke to the Tribune at 11 a.m. Thursday morning regarding the transfer window and trade deadline expiring at 3 p.m. MDT.
(The Tribune reported Monday that a source confirmed a verbal agreement on a contract between the club and Argentine Juan Manuel Martinez. A team spokesman again declined comment Thursday.)
It's 11 a.m., the transfer window closes in four hours: Where does RSL stand?
Waibel: "We're still in the mix, we're still in discussions with now our third high-impact player of this transfer window. For various reasons, the other two haven't worked. This one, we're trying to make it work, but I've implied this the whole time in the transfer window, and that's we don't need to bring in another role player we need to bring in an impact player that's going to help push us toward greater results. In saying that, the three main targets we had were all high-impact players. One of them is currently scoring goals consistently for his team, one of them just recently transferred in a major transfer with big dollars attached to it and this one, this is a player that has interest elsewhere. To be perfectly honest, we're in the middle of the dogfight. Trying to close it. We have four hours to figure it out."
You can still technically get a deal done even though it's not announced today, correct?
Waibel: "Especially from where I sit. I understand with social media, things kind of snowball. From where I sit, I don't believe in announcing anything that isn't done … from a club perspective, it's irrational and irresponsible to announce something that isn't concrete. We're trying to solidify the terms here and get ink-to-paper. At times in this process, we thought that was happening. There's been little hiccups along the way, but nothing too damaging that it's completely gone. We're still in the middle of talks. An announcement, even if a contract was signed today, I can't imagine we'd be announcing anything [soon]. There's steps you have to go through, ITC paperwork, official releases and things like that. The club in today's world, with social media, the club is usually the last to announce anything."
If talks fall through with this player you're after, are there other players you are in talks with currently?
Waibel: "At the beginning of this transfer window, we had a couple tiers. We had tier one and tier two. The three main targets are the one I've spent my energy and time mostly on. There are other players, there are other mechanisms, there are other ways to pick up players, even after the deadline today. Players out of contract can still be signed. There's other guys, but again, my responsibility in my position is to improve this club, not to panic and make snap decisions, not to go out and get band-aids. There may come a point in this process where we say, 'Hey, we need to pick up a couple things now that will see how they'll work,' but the main focus this whole time is picking up a piece that we know works. That's kind of where it is. In terms of what the next step is, we evaluate as we go."
Various reports indicate this being a fairly hyperactive trade deadline, would you agree?
Waibel: "It's my first year in it, but I can tell there's a lot of sensitivity to the issue league-wide. I'll tell you, I'm not that disappointed with your roster, what I'm disappointed with is the health of our roster throughout the season … [the D.C. United game] was statistically one-sided. But on the score sheet, we made silly mistakes, silly individual mistakes. I think truthfully, they produced one very, very good goal. Other than that, we kind of donated five, which is unfortunate. When we're healthy and have full selection, we're a pretty good team."
Do you anticipate being active in the trade talks before the deadline hits?
Waibel: "It's not singular-focused for me. That's why I haven't slept for three weeks. I've been working on bringing players in, I've also been working on trades within the league, extremely-active in conversations. Very few of them make sense for us. There's a lot of different reasons that play into a trade: Finances come in, performances come in, future fit comes in. Again, I come back to the term 'band-aid.' I don't feel like we need to make a trade to try and solve something for the next six months. I think we're smarter to be patient as a club and really look into the future and not just go about trading for another young, talented player. We have young, talented players. We have developing talent we need impact players. That's what this group needs. We need to add one, maybe two more high-impact pros because our youth is bar none the best in the league."
Will you be disappointed if you can't strike a deal with any players today?
Waibel: "I'll be disappointed, but simply only from the perspective that I'm always trying to make our team better. Not all trades make my team better. I've been offered a bevy of players across the league and I can honestly tell you that I've only felt two or three of them could make our team better. The majority of the players that I've been approached with are not that high-impact player, there are some project players, there are some role players, but no one that other than the two or three and those deals become really complicated really quickly because if I feel they're impact players, it's because they're impacting their own team you're not going to get those things for free. You have to give something up and that's the fine balance of trying to improve your team in a trade. Will I be disappointed? Yeah. I live constantly disappointed because every day I wake up, I feel like there's something I've got to do to make this team better."
More throughout the day as the time on the clock continues to dwindle.