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Real Salt Lake seems to be zeroed in on the center back signing its craved all offseason. But RSL general manager Craig Waibel refuted a report Tuesday that the club has finalized a deal with Ghanaian center back — and current RSL trialist — Jerry Akaminko.

The 27-year-old defender joined the club in the second leg of its preseason in Tucson, Ariz., last week and saw time in friendlies against the Portland Timbers and later Korean club Seongnam FC. Akaminko, who played a role in Ghana's World Cup qualifying before the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, was playing professionally most recently in Turkey for the club Eskisehirspor.

Asked to comment on the report from that RSL has agreed to sign Akaminko, Waibel told the Tribune, "That's a positive sign for my intentions with the player. But the deal is still not done. It's definitely still not done."

Waibel reiterated that the 6-foot-tall center back is "a trialist as of this moment," but added that the club is actively pursuing Akaminko.

"We're in conversations with him," Waibel said.

On the prowl for a quality center back signing this offseason, Waibel said Akaminko fits the bill as a technical center back who has a knack for solid distribution of the ball. Several times this offseason, Waibel said he was searching for a "cerebral" central defender to complement the stronger, more physical center backs already on RSL's roster.

When describing Akaminko's attributes, Waibel circled back to that description, calling the trialist a "cerebral center back" who also possesses impressive speed.

Conversations between RSL and Akaminko and his representatives began roughly a month ago after RSL's verbal agreement to sign another international center back fell through.

"We're very fortunate to have brought Jerry in and we're quite pleased because, again, this is a high-quality player with options that came into our environment and realized this [trial] is something he wanted to be a part of," Waibel said.

Waibel said he and the staff were initially surprised that Akaminko accepted the trial offer. It's quite rare, Waibel said, that a 27-year-old national team player agrees to a trial somewhere.

"I think it speaks to his character," Waibel said. "He wanted to come be around the team before he made any decisions. So far, so good. Both sides feel very good about one another."

Akaminko was named to Ghana's 26-man provisional roster for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but a horrific leg injury suffered in stoppage time of a World Cup tune-up friendly against the Netherlands threw his career into flux. Akaminko missed the entire 2014-15 season at Eskisehirspor due to the injury.

The report Tuesday also stated that Akaminko recently cancelled his contract with Eskisehirspor in January over unpaid wages despite two years remaining on his deal. It later added that he plans to take his case before FIFA.

Since 2008, Akaminko had played in the Turkish Super Lig. He started at Orduspor (2008-2011), then moved to Manisaspor (2011-2012) before spending the last five seasons at Eskisehirspor.

Holness still sorting out visa issues

RSL has been without its first-round SuperDraft pick the last two weeks. Midfielder Omar Holness, the No. 5 pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft, left RSL's first leg of preseason near San Diego, Calif., on Feb. 1 to fly home to his native Jamaica to sort out visa issues. Which have taken much longer than expected.

Asked to provide an update on the 21-year-old University of North Carolina product, Waibel offered, "He's caught up in the immigration process."

Waibel said Holness is expected to re-join the club possibly next week. Holness started in RSL's first preseason scrimmage against the San Diego State Aztecs two weeks ago in Oceanside, Calif., playing 32 minutes next to Kyle Beckerman in the RSL midfield.

-Chris Kamrani

Twitter: @chriskamrani