Real Salt Lake has extended a contract offer to Luis Gil, who has become a somewhat controversial figure in supporter circles of late.
After being reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, It's causing a bit of uproar among some, some of whom are of the opinion that he should be jettisoned as quickly as possible.
Gil, 21, might have been a bit poor this season so far, but that sort of cavalier attitude with a young player ignores some important factors. Throw in the fact that it's an offer and not an offer that's been accepted, and we're in a spot where some explanation might not go amiss.
So — the big question: Why should RSL re-sign, or at least offer to re-sign, Luis Gil? Let's just list the reasons.
- Luis Gil is young and still improving, even if he's been less consistent.
- While he's taken a step back in a few matches where consistency is concerned, he's looking more assured when he's beating players with skills.
- Offering him a contract doesn't ensure he accepts it, but it does ensure RSL can retain his rights in the long-term.
- Not only are we learning how best to play Luis Gil, he's also learning his best position. We haven't found that yet, but when he plays deeper, it feels like we're getting closer to discovering it — even if it's higher up the pitch.
If it seems like we're focusing on potential an awful lot, it's because that's what happens with almost every 21-year-old player. Will we ever really find the answer? It's hard to say. Maybe Gil is at a point where he needs a fresh approach and outlook — a new environment — to really succeed. That's not unheard of.
Some people will probably blame coaching for his woes, and certainly, there's something to think about there, potentially. But where that's hidden to all but the most involved of us (which is to say, those at the club), making that assumption without actual, demonstrable evidence — especially with some young players excelling — does us no favors.
Whatever happens, it might be the last time in MLS a club has to try to develop a star out of a player that didn't go through an MLS academy. There's something fascinating about that. The rise of the homegrown player could potentially invalidate the approach Gil took. Clubs will probably look to bring in players who fit their system already.
What happens next? I guess we'll find out in December — or sooner.