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The search, somehow, continues.
Reached by phone Sunday morning, Real Salt Lake general manager Craig Waibel informed the Tribune that the club will not be signing Ghanaian center back Jerry Akaminko. The 27-year-old national team defender spent the last two weeks with RSL on trial during its preseason stint in Tucson, Ariz.
"We couldn't agree to terms," Waibel said. "We definitely wanted him and he definitely had a lot of interest being here, but in the end, MLS contracts are interesting especially on a world market for a player like him. There were terms in the end that we just couldn't get to."
Asked to clarify, Waibel said there were "a few things" the club and Akaminko's side couldn't agree to, but couldn't divulge more.
This marks the third international center back this offseason RSL has been near the finish line with, but haven't been able to finalize.
"It's disappointing, but the good news is we've already found three very good players," Waibel said. "Unfortunately, now we're at the number three, not the number two. But we're confident. We found three guys we really enjoyed … We'll find a fourth."
RSL and Akaminko, who spent the last seven seasons playing in the Turkish Super Lig, were in deep negotiations throughout the week. On Tuesday, a report surfaced that Akaminko had agreed to sign with RSL. Waibel soon after refuted the report, saying Tuesday that the deal was "definitely still not done."
He was right.
"We thought [Akaminko] was good," Waibel said. "He really enjoyed being with us. It's just a bummer that we thought we were going to be able to get it all worked out, but we couldn't."
Talks broke off within the last 24-to-36 hours, Waibel said. Now, the RSL front office must return to the drawing board to snag the final piece of the puzzle it initially set out to find and sign this offseason. Waibel said the process has started once again, adding they're going back out on the international market.
Waibel said they've already targeted Costa Rican, Greek and Mexican internationals in RSL's next round of scouring the globe for center back No. 4.
"It's just a matter of circling the wagons and getting back at it," Waibel said.