First and foremost, this is obviously just a rumor that started with a single report from a BBC writer. Scouts are planning on watching Albert Rusnak. No kidding — he’s a phenomenal player, why wouldn’t they?
Still, it’s hard to ignore those little tiny voices in the back my head that want to panic and sound the alarms. We just signed Rusnak this year. He’s just found his rhythm and chemistry with this team. We’re building our immediate future around him! What would we do?!
Just for giggles, let’s pretend that this rumor turns out to be true, and some giant European club ponies up a fat chunk of cash to sign Albert this offseason. As terrifying as it is, what would happen if he actually left so soon?
Right off the bat, it’d free up an extra DP slot. Not that we want to, because, you know, Rusnak’s really good and all that. He’s also still classified as a “young designated player” which is nice, because it isn’t as much of a hit to RSL’s salary cap. But freeing up a DP position would allow RSL to expand its search for a replacement without having to keep an eye on the salary cap itself.
It’s safe to say that if Rusnak actually did leave before his RSL contract is up, the team who buys him would have to fork over a bunch of money. A lot. Back in January it was reported that RSL signed Rusnak for about $460,000. Given the talent and explosiveness he’s shown not only in MLS this year, but on the Slovakian national team as well, it would take a lot more money than that for Craig Waibel & Friends to let the centerpiece of the attack leave the club.
How much are we talking? In short, I have no idea. It’s safe to say that Rusnak would come with a pretty large price tag, though. The MLS record for the sale of a player was set back in 2008 when the New York Red Bulls sold Jozy Altidore to Spanish club Villarreal for an impressive $8 million. It’s hard to speculate whether Rusnak would be breaking that record, but it certainly depends on the details of the deal and how big the club is who actually wants to buy him.
Transfermarkt has his market value at €1.25 million, which comes out to just under $1.5 million in US dollars. Given that Albert is still in the first of his multi-year contract, I’ve gotta think he would go for a lot higher than that.
If the right team made the right offer, it’s entirely possible that it’d make sense for RSL to sell off the 23-year-old Slovakian midfielder.
Given that RSL would most definitely see a big injection of funds, the rumors would certainly be flying almost immediately after the sale as to what “big name” player the club would be signing to replace him. Zlatan’s name would be tossed around a few dozen times, I’m sure, as it always seems to happen that way.
Regardless of rumors, it would sincerely open up a huge door for RSL to sign a bigger, more well-known player than Rusnak, or to find someone on his same level that they can bring in to essentially do what Albert’s done this season. Of course, with the profit from his sale, RSL would be free to shore up any other positions they’d like to upgrade or add depth to (center forward, anyone?). I can’t help but feel like it’d put us right back at square one. The front four have been phenomenal over the last few months, and if we take the guy who pulls the strings out of the equation, Waibel would be left starting his Javi replacement scouting process all over again.
Despite all that, we’d see an outrageous number of sad faces in Utah, as Rusnak has become well-loved and respected in the soccer community here. With his seven goals and 13 assists through his first season in MLS, he’s been the driving force that’s led to such a stellar second half to the season on the field. A Rusnak departure would certainly be met with an outcry of sadness and despair from the club, but to be honest, it wouldn’t quite feel like unfamiliar territory.
Luckily, we don’t have to think about any of this seriously right now because at this point, it all comes down to a blurb from a BBC reporter which may or may not hold any weight. I’ve got my money on him sticking around for the duration of his contract, and I’m hoping that’s where Waibel is at too.