Rumors about Yura Movsisyan, former Real Salt Lake striker and a current member of Spartak Moscow, have been circling, and that has a lot of RSL supporters near-gleeful about the possibility of his return.
It started when reports that his Spartak coach, Murat Yakin — a Turk, had dropped him not on playing grounds, but because Movsisyan is an Armenian. There's not seemed to be too much confirmation of that rumor, and in fact, most of the quotes from the initial story focus on a teammate of his, Aras Ozbilis, another Armenian. Whatever the case, it seems the coach is ready to sell the pair.
Still, Movsisyan's season hasn't been nearly as fantastic as previous years — his goal return has dropped significantly over the previous year — but that's something that could be down to a lack of faith from the coaching staff as much as it could be down to an actual dip in form. Those are things you have to wonder about as a striker.
Regardless, that — along with statements from his agent indicating he's willing to come back to MLS — has some thinking he's destined to return to Real Salt Lake. After all, the club holds his MLS rights, having offered him a contract before he went to Randers FC.
These facts notwithstanding, a return to RSL is probably not on the cards. Movsisyan, since leaving for Randers in Denmark, has been a player consistently on the rise. He went from Randers to Russian Premier League side Krasnodar, then to Spartak Moscow, one of the Russia's most successful teams. He was Spartak's leading goalscorer in two consecutive seasons.
Despite being open to a return to MLS, at 27, Movsisyan is just entering the peak of his career. A move here would require a substantial investment on the part of whatever club signed him, and he'd have to be a star player — if just because his salary demanded it. He's at a point in his career where he could realistically gun for a move to one of the top European leagues. If he's purposeful and considered in his play, it's not unrealistic to see Movsisyan somewhere like England, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal or Germany.
For that reason alone, a return to MLS doesn't seem on the cards. He could return, and sure, we've seen players like Michael Bradley (also 27) come back — but for big money and for big roles in a league that institutionally needs those players. Movsisyan doesn't necessarily tick those boxes.
At any rate, Real Salt Lake — while I'm sure they'd love to have him back — doesn't need him back desperately. Despite some uncertainty around the forward group (outside of Alvaro Saborio), it's not a bad one at all. Olmes Garcia is loaded with potential yet to be actuated, Devon Sandoval has been increasingly good (and is still very affordable as far as salary cap is concerned), and Joao Plata is recovering from his injury and could be returning soon. The only big question mark is around Sebastian Jaime, who has yet to really show his true value to the club, but he's also only played in a handful of matches.
That forward group could certainly benefit from someone like Movsisyan, but is he what's needed? He'd have to take the place of someone like Saborio, who isn't a DP this year — is it worth the investment just to have a potentially similar goal return? It's hard to say, but there would be more good years to come from Movsisyan than from Saborio.
Whatever the case, Movsisyan doesn't need Salt Lake. His agent told the Salt Lake Tribune as much, and said he had a strong relationship with former owner Dave Checketts, who is notably not at the club anymore. Maybe he'd want to come back, and RSL would have the option, but is it likely?
I don't think so. But hey, none of this is really definitive. Keep the dream alive.