Just when you thought silly season was slowing down for Real Salt Lake, this rumor came rather out of the blue: RSL is one of a handful of clubs interested in the services of United States and Club Tijuana winger Paul Arriola.
The report by U.S. soccer reporter Ives Galarcep cites strong interest from “Netherlands and Portugal, as well as a half dozen teams in MLS.” LA Galaxy are likely to be holding his rights, as he attended their academy until leaving for Xolos.
Arriola, 22, most recently featured for the U.S. in last night’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Final win over Jamaica. He played at right midfield in that match, which, according to Transfermarkt, is his most common position as a player.
Something of a versatile player, Arriola is recorded as having featured in the midfield, defense and attack — anywhere from right back to defensive midfield to right wing. Having amassed over 100 appearances in Liga MX by the age of 22 is some feat.
We’ll see if there’s any truth to this one, but it shouldn’t be surprising that RSL would be interested in a player like Arriola. Galarcep is a reliable source, so there’s no reason to doubt on that front. The competition to sign him would be fierce, but it’s also one MLS might be interested in helping along with its typical sideways rule-bending.
Would Arriola be a useful player for RSL? Certainly, although those attacking spots do start to look a little cramped — one wonders what that means for RSL’s interest in securing the long-term services of a player like Brooks Lennon, on loan from Liverpool. But a national team-caliber player with good experience at a young age is ideal for RSL as they look to build out their roster for 2018 to 2022.