In a move that will certainly raise some eyebrows, Real Salt Lake has secured the signature of Damir Kreilach, a Croatian midfielder who has played with 1. FC Union Berlin for the last five years.
Kreilach, 28, is a box-to-box midfielder that has a surprising penchant for scoring goals — he scored 33 goals during his five years at the Berlin club.
In a Real Salt Lake-issued press release, general manager Craig Waibel said
“We’re really excited about bringing Damir in. He’s got a ton of experience and challenges our depth immediately,” Waibel said. “He brings talent. He brings leadership – he was the co-captain at Union Berlin. He’s a good person. He’s going to be a good fit in our locker room.”
Union Berlin’s official release did not specify a transfer fee between the two clubs but did, interestingly, note that they have dissolved Kreilach’s contract immediately. There may be some translation issues at play in my reading, of course.
Real Salt Lake is only Kreilach’s third professional club, having played 133 matches with Croatia’s HNK Rijeka and 157 with Union Berlin, making him a veteran of the 2. Bundesliga. He also featured in several matches for Croatian youth sides, rising as high as the U-21 level.
There is not yet word on how Real Salt Lake will fit Kreilach into the roster, given the team is already at capacity. It will almost certainly mean the departure of a player on the senior roster before the season’s start, with smart money likely being placed on Yura Movsisyan.