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"There's no secrets," Real Salt Lake general manager Craig Waibel said. "We need a 10."
And RSL is currently scouring the globe for arguably the most impactful type of player soccer demands. The day RSL announced which player options were being picked up and which weren't for the 2017 season, Waibel said the club's scouting staff has put feelers out to perspective playmakers all around the world.
"Genuinely," he said.
Waibel rattled off some locations in which RSL is taking a look: Croatia, the Netherlands, Spain, Colombia and Argentina.
"It's a world market nowadays and a world competition and we're looking for the same position the rest of the world is looking for," Waibel added. "You've got to chase a lot of different leads."
For the first time in a decade, RSL's primary midfield playmaking role will not be filled by the boots of Javier Morales. The 36-year-old Argentine attacker and the club went through what turned out to be a somewhat messy split two weeks ago. And Morales' departure leaves a position needing to be filled if RSL is to contend for another MLS Cup postseason berth in 2017.
When addressing the media a few weeks ago, Waibel said RSL is in a position to go search for a Designated Player this offseason, and that if the right fit managed to come along, he wouldn't shy away from trying to strike a deal.
"There's a million players we like, to be fair," Waibel continued. "But at the same time, we do have a budget number that we can't get away from. We're doing a lot of research, we're reaching out to a lot of agents, we think we have a little bit of traction with a few guys. But we have a lot of irons in the fire right now in terms of continuing to build the core of the roster, and I think within the next three, four weeks we'll know if any of those are getting finalized and it really, genuinely will put the focus on two positions three positions, at the most that have to be impact players."
His primary focus this offseason, Waibel said, will be strengthening the spine of the team down the middle of the field.
"I think every team in the world is trying to accomplish that," he said. "It's a really competitive thing we're trying to accomplish. The focus for us is genuinely the center of the field, with one or two darts being thrown in the flames."
RSL has already found some players internationally who have expressed potential interest in joining the club. The tricky part comes in maneuvering around transfer windows, players out-of-contract or who remain in contract at their respective clubs and could possibly join RSL on loan.
"We won't sign a player just to sign them to tell everyone we went and made a move," Waibel said. "We want to take our time and try to make it healthy as possible so that the player we get is a really good fit."
In the meantime, the RSL technical staff will remain, as Waibel put it, "holed up" studying players and "running down rabbit holes," which the offseason tends to become at times. They'll save the scouting trips for the players they feel really good about.
"When you're up 30,000 feet," Waibel said, "video doesn't stream as well."