This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
As the summer transfer window looms four weeks away, one of Real Salt Lake's most talented pieces has become a topic of transfer chatter in Mexico and South America. Three weeks ago, reports out of Mexico began to pop up stating that Liga MX club Morelia was interested in chasing RSL forward Joao Plata.
A little more than a week later, Plata's agent, Gonzalo Vargas, went on an Ecuadorian radio station saying that two Liga MX clubs in Mexico were interested in acquiring Plata during this upcoming transfer window.
RSL general manager Craig Waibel was asked about the rumors of his 25-year-old goal-scorer drawing interest from Mexican clubs ahead of July 10 transfer window opening, and said the rumors are exactly that.
"I have not spoken to [Plata's agent] about the rumors," Waibel said, "but I can confirm, very clearly, that I've not been contacted by any club."
The 5-foot-3 striker seems to finally be finding his groove after a lackluster start to 2017. Plata has scored in two of RSL's last three games. His first goal of the year proved to be the game-winner in the 1-0 win over Philadelphia at home on May 27.
RSL signed Plata to a long-term multiyear contract extension in late February. Plata occupied one of RSL's three Designated Player spots for a couple of months before the arrival of Venezuelan attacker Jefferson Savarino as the club used the league's targeted allocation money mechanism to buy down Plata's budget hit on the team's salary cap.
Since arriving at RSL in 2013, Plata has 32 goals and 32 assists. He's lead RSL in goals scored in two of the last three seasons, notching a career-high 13 goals in 2014 and nine in 2016.