So when Craig Waibel said there were a few players RSL was looking at this winter transfer window, you knew there would be some speculation, how could their not be? But in the last 24 hours things have been kinda funny, kinda exciting, but not very rewarding as everything seems to still be in that rumor stage. Given the drama of several handshake deals falling thru last year, I will get excited when paperwork is signed and official announcements made.
Still, let’s talk about things a little bit. First up, Landon oh Landon, how would the RSL family react if the rumor of Landon to RSL were more than just a rumor (I really, really doubt it even should qualify as a rumor). So it all started with a report that Landon was in Salt Lake City, so that must mean he is signing with RSL right? Oh could he be one of thousands who come here each winter week to get some time on the slopes? Could he just be visiting friends? Could he be here for some completely unrelated reason? Yup and to be honest as much as I respect Landon, this isn’t a player that builds RSL for the future. I said it on Twitter, if this were a move for a team that just needed one piece to go from close to Champions, then great and wonderful he is a guy who can make a difference for any team.
That isn’t the case in my book, I was reminded that most of our starters and roster are coming back from the 2016 season and I remain unconvinced is some cases if that is a good thing or not. I believe it is time for RSL to start rebuilding, not a complete but clearly we need a faster, more dynamic team on both sides of the ball. The heart and passion showed early in the season was replaced by a team that looked confused and disinterested at the end of the season. The stat that still haunts me is how often we failed to win when we scored first, and countered by how often we were able early in the year to fight back after giving up the first goal and get a result. So I would say thanks but no thanks to a Landon to RSL deal at this point, because I want us to start building for the next 3-4 years and beyond, not just do enough to make the playoffs and get a few contracts extended another year.
Now the very exciting rumor that may hold some actual weight is Albert Rusnak, a 22 yr old attacking midfielder from Slovakia, who currently plays in the Netherlands for FC Groningen. You can check out one of the many highlight clips here. Craig dropped hints at the town hall a couple weeks ago about a young attacking mid playing in the Netherlands and today rumors started flying around about Albert. You can check out his current player profile page here
The timing of the rumors is what has me believe there might just be something to this. I know a member of the RSL staff is currently in Europe, on vacation but he mentioned he wouldn’t mind doing a bit of work while he is there. It just so happens his trip started yesterday, so the timing of these rumors make me think there might be something to it. Only time will tell but I like this kind of move more than a Landon type move, a young player (still developing) but with a huge upside. A kid that clearly has done enough at some point to get the interest of Premier League side Man City. Remember how few folks knew some of the names that made a huge impact in MLS last year and the year before, could he be that kind of player? Only time would tell.
In either case it would likely require a fairly large check to be written by RSL, but for me as exciting as the right now reward of a MLS legend like Landon who clearly could play for a couple more years (if he wants to), the thought of landing a guy who could be a cornerstone to build around for the next decade is something I can really get excited for. We have some good pieces but the departures of Javi and Burrito leave some really big holes in the creative playmaking for RSL, we have a couple of guys who could step up to fill those roles but none of them took advantage of that chance at the end of the season. In a few weeks the preseason will start and RSL needs some answers on the pitch, more speed, more dynamics, more creativity, if those things can’t be answered quickly then moves like these two rumors will need to find a lot more footing in reality.
I am very hopeful about the Rusnak signing, I just hope people don’t set a bar too high if he does arrive, he is still a young player and things can go very right or very wrong with young players as we have seen. So keep your seats in the upright position, with your tray tables up and seat belts fastened as it seems silly season has hit RSL, finally.
That’s How I See It