RSL general manager Craig Waibel likely isn’t sitting around mourning Real Salt Lake’s recent form, as he recently returned from a ten-day scouting trip to Europe, including Scandinavia.
The head man told ESPN 700 radio show OnFrame — RSL’s official two-hour soccer show — that he was there targeting players and building relationships.
The intention of the trip was kind of duel focused on scouting some players in positions of need and targeting some guys, but also to connect with multiple agents in different markets and get a greater understanding of financial situations in other markets.
In addition, there may have been an element of evangelizing involved where it comes to MLS’s reputation in world transfer markets, Waibel told OnFrame hosts Trey Fitz-Gerald and Brian Dunseth.
(MLS is) in a much stronger position than I think other people think — where I think we’re weak is that not being communicated consistently throughout the world. It was very educational for me, it was essential — there will be more trips for myself and the rest of my department. It’s really just to build those bridges so we’re not relying on the same four or five agents any time we’re looking for some players.
But what sorts of players is he looking for? He delved into some of the reasoning behind targets over his time in the position.
Look — we set out when I took over last August, we set out on a two-year plan to strengthen position by position, prioritizing the attacking half of the field last January. Picking up Burrito, picking up Yura, continuing the development of our young players like Jordan Allen and Olmes Garcia — the idea was to strengthen the attacking half of our field to be in competition for every game.
Waibel also cited players like Justen Glad and Aaron Maund as players who have forced him to reevaluate his transfer plans — the two defenders started the season with the understanding that another center back to play first team minutes would be brought in. For a number of reasons, that didn’t happen; as a result, Glad and Maund formed an exciting center back partnerhsip.
As we sit down at the end of the year, we’re going to have to make some really tough decisions on some guys and some players, and the priority of position will come from those meetings. We do have a pretty good idea of where we’re heading, but to share that right now would be pretty disrespectful to the group.