Real Salt Lake is nearly done with a deal to bring Slovak midfielder Albert Rusnak to the club on a transfer from Dutch side FC Groningen — and if you’re wondering who he is, we’ve got you covered.
So, a young player from the Eredivisie?
Yep — the top league in the Netherlands. And yep, he’s only 22. That’s young. But he’s been a regular starter for his club, FC Groningen, and that means something. He moved there from Manchester City FC at the start of 2015.
Where’d he get his start?
Yeah, yeah. In every article, we’ve talked about how Rusnak got his start at Premier League giants Manchester City FC, but that doesn’t make it less true, does it? Of course not. He signed there as a 14-year-old at their youth academy.
He didn’t stick around there, and he spent a lot of time out on loan. It didn’t all work out for him, as sometimes happens with young players, but he did end up playing on loan for a Dutch club, SC Cambuur, for a good six months before joining FC Groningen.
It did sound like SC Cambuur had some desire to sign him but weren’t able to for one reason or another — that’s the nature of some of these teams. They’re not all flush with money.
Where’d he play on loan?
Oldham Athletic, Birmingham City, and SC Cambuur. It wasn’t until he reached the Eredivisie with SC Cambuur that he started to see any regular playing time, and if we’re to be honest, that’s probably to be expected. He played in League One and the Championship, and for a young, technical player, those leagues won’t always be the easiest to survive in. In fact, I’d venture that those teams often don’t provide the same level of support for creative players — but maybe there’s some bias there, too.
Why should I be excited?
You should be excited about this because Albert Rusnak is a young player who’s attracted attention across the European continent. He’s not exactly a world-beater at this point in his career, but there are very few conditions under which Real Salt Lake could fend off the many interested parties for that sort of player.
But really, Rusnak’s arrival portends good things for RSL. If they can build around signings like this, it helps elevate the state of their game. Maybe Rusnak isn’t fully developed — no midfielder is at 22 — but he’s extremely talented.
You don’t just have to take my word for it. Here are some highlights.
Is there a chance it doesn’t happen?
Sure. But that chance is remote. RSL Communications told us that there are a few signatures left, and there’s always a risk there — but every transfer requires lots of signatures, and that there are just a few left bodes well. I think this one definitely happens — otherwise, the club likely wouldn’t have said anything at all in an official capacity.
Anything else I should know?
Yes. He posts photos of a cute dog on Instagram.