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Sandy • With a club scarf identical to the one his general manager, head coach and brand new Designated Player each had draped on their shoulders, Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen said, "We're not sitting on our money. That would be a mistake to think that."
Hansen said he believes the club could finalize a third DP deal sometime this offseason, adding it's an obvious need to fill now that the club has one remaining DP slot open after RSL introduced attacking midfielder Albert Rusnák in a press conference Friday morning at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"We don't want to create the dichotomy of an $8 million player that's 37-years-old that shakes up the locker room," Hansen said. "We're very locker room sensitive. The team is the star. There's not a star, and other people. RSL goes about it trying to balance the locker room."
Hansen said the Rusnák signing is hopefully the first of many from the Netherlands. He said plainly, "We just think that we're going to be good at Northern Europe." RSL officials have made four trips to the country in the last year, Hansen added.
"We've made it a point to be in the Netherlands, because the Netherlands plays tight football like we want to play, so why don't we find guys who are already playing an RSL style of football, which is not unique in the league, but we're the best at it," he said. "We're going to be in the Netherlands a lot because we're going to find a lot of people who meet our style there."
On Thursday, RSL GM Craig Waibel confirmed on a stint on ESPN700 that the club remains in ongoing conversations with American superstar Landon Donovan, but was adamant that the conversations are very much in the early stages.
-'We're really moving on it full-tilt'
The RSL Herriman academy will have full-time tenants in 2017, Hansen said. The anticipated $50 million training complex will open its doors to the charter school portion in late August or early September. By October, Hansen explained, the academy portion of the complex should be going full speed.
The last two pieces of the franchise expected to move in are RSL and Real Monarchs. It's anticipated that the first week of December 2017, the MLS and USL teams will be moved into their long-term training facility in Herriman. "We're really moving on it full-tilt," he asid.
When the 2018 USL season rolls around, the Monarchs will open their new stadium in Herriman. Hansen pointed to the youth academy that produced Rusnák, Manchester City, hoping that one day he can provide American players an academy experience that produces talent that translates to the professional level on a consistent basis.
"We ought to be able to grow great players right out of Utah," he said, "and I think that's the trick to the future in soccer. You can run all over trying to buy them from somebody else, but they don't have to give them to you. If you grow them, they're yours."
-Silva deal 'really close'
A move to bring Luis Silva back to RSL is "really close," Waibel told reporters after Rusnák's intro Friday in Sandy. It's in the hands of Silva's Liga MX club, Tigres UANL, but Waibel said he very confident a deal will be done to bring the 28-year-old versatile attacking player back to MLS and Utah.
"I think we're all the way down the line to the point where it's whether or not the ink dries," Waibel said.
Silva was out-of-contract at RSL after the 2015 offseason and eventually signed with Tigres, which just won the 2016 Apertura final on Christmas Day. RSL traded for Silva in the summer of 2015, dealing all-time leading scorer Alvaro Saborio to D.C. United.
"I've reached out to his people since the day before he left," Waibel said. "We were never interested in having him leave, so we understood his individual goals. He grew up as a huge fan of Liga MX and it was always a personal dream for him to play in Liga MX, so unfortunately for us, that was his internal dream.
"But at no point have we ever stopped our interest in having him here. The day I traded for him, there was a reason. It wasn't to have him here for four months, it was to have him here for a long time. It'd be wonderful to get him back."