This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It appears Real Salt Lake's dogged pursuit of America's most-decorated player is finished.
On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl reported that RSL and Landon Donovan will not come to terms on a contract. The club had been in negotiations with the 34-year-old over the last month, but Wahl's report states that Donovan, who came out of retirement last September, won't be headed for the Wasatch Front.
According to the report, RSL "made a lucrative offer to Donovan under MLS's limited free agency rules." Donovan, who turns 35 on March 4, decided not to continue his playing career with his longtime club, the L.A. Galaxy, when it did not offer him a Designated Player deal, per the SI.com report.
In his nine matches back with L.A. in 2016, he registered a goal and an assist and helped the Galaxy bounce RSL 3-1 in the first round of the 2016 MLS Cup playoffs.
As recently as last Friday, RSL general manager Craig Waibel spoke in a scrum of local reporters regarding the notion of chasing Donovan to join the ranks. RSL, after signing 22-year-old Slovakian attacking midfielder Albert Rusnák, still has one Designated Player spot left on its roster entering the 2017 season.
"Landon's in a different phase of his career that fits who we are as a club," Waibel said last week. "It's a bit of evolution on the player end, as well as the club end. We've never gotten in a conversation claiming we're signing a 27-year-old Landon Donovan. All the conversations have been very realistic on his fit within our club and very realistic about the expectations involved, but as I've said, there's so many details that go into any contract that it's far from done."
Donovan remains not only the league's all-time leading goal-scorer (145) and assist man (136), but holds the same distinctions for the U.S. men's national team (57 goals and 58 assists).
Attempts to reach RSL communications for comment were not immediately successful.