Former Real Salt Lake forward Cody Arnoux fights for a ball in this file photo of the player in rare first-team action. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
In a busy week of RSL transfer news, one has come in and two have departed. Kwame Watson-Siriboe, a California-born center back, was acquired from Chicago Fire in exchange for a 4th round 2014 MLS SuperDraft pick.
Departing the squad are rookie defender Chris Estridge and forward Cody Arnoux, the latter of whom played only two matches for Real Salt Lake since his vaunted arrival via a lottery allocation in early 2011.
Arnoux leaves the club having spent much of his time in Claret and Cobalt struck by injury, with 69 minutes over two league matches attesting to that fact. Although his long-term knee injury concerns cleared up near the end of the 2011 campaign, he has at times struggled for fitness since and found himself behind Paulo Jr. and Emiliano Bonfigli in substitute selection.
Estridge's departure comes as no big surprise. With Watson-Siriboe coming in as a center back and with the recent arrival of Kenny Mansally as a full back, room was limited for the youngster, and cap space concerns prove again restrictive. After being picked in the second round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft will now be searching for his third club of the year.
Watson-Siriboe made 10 appearances for Chicago Fire and spent part of the 2011 NASL campaign on loan at FC Tampa Bay, where he made a further 10 appearances. A former University of Connecticut player, Watson-Siriboe is a former member of the United States Under-18s side.
In an interview on the Bill and Hans Show on ESPN 700, Garth Lagerwey described Watson-Siriboe — who will wear the number 3 kit — as a "big, athletic" player.
"(Watson-Siriboe) hasn't got a lot of opportunities in a lot of games with Chicago," Lagerwey said during the interview. "He played with C.J. (Brown, RSL assistant coach, in 2010) ... so this is going to be C.J.'s project. We're going to see if C.J. can develop him; he's a kid with whom he's got a good rapport."
Despite having only just arrived at the club, Watosn-Siriboe could play a role in Saturday's match against Columbus.
"In terms of Saturday, I think he's very likely to be in the team, meaning that he dresses," Lagerwey said. "But we've got to see how some guys come good, with respect to Schuler, Borchers and Olave - see how healthy those guys are."
The transaction comes not long after the departure of center back Leone Cruz and the arrival of left back and forward Kenny Mansally, leaving Real Salt Lake once again with four genuine central defenders. It also leaves the squad with 25 players of their preferred 26-man squad; as such, it might be reasonably expected that another signing will soon be announced.