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The Salt: RSL and Savarino, when the walls fell

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Fall and Juarez at Tanagra.

MLS: MLS Cup Playoffs-Round One-Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, well, hello.

I know the title implies that there’s a failure to be had here. I want you to know I don’t necessarily mean it that way. I do think something has been lost here, though, and really, I should wait to say that until we’re a bit further down in the piece and can explain it a bit better.

So let’s wait until then to bring up failure again. Thanks!

Savarino to Atletico Mineiro, all but confirmed

So, uh. Yeah. Jefferson Savarino is gone, more or less. It’s not confirmed confirmed, but the rumor is now confirmed by The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal, so it may as well be.

We’ve also got some detail on two things. First, how much? Second, why?

The second you can sort of answer with the first: money. Also, family.

Which, hey, for a Utah-based blog, we don’t actually talk about the pull of family too much on a professional athlete. It’s an interesting thing, because Stejskal’s report talks about how his family in Venezuela hasn’t been able to visit. Here’s a short excerpt:

He and his wife had their first child in Utah in the offseason, but his parents and other family members aren’t able to receive visas to travel from Venezuela to the U.S.

For the first time, this move starts to make sense. I know the move offers a not-insubstantial outlay — $2 million — and a big sell-on fee — 40 percent. That’s not bad.

But looking back at reports around Savarino moving to West Ham, that put the potential fee at $7.5 million. Even with a 40 percent sell-on clause, it’ll take a $15 million deal to bring this to that point.

I get why we’d sell him now, and I think we’d be doing right by the player if he’s requested a move for that reason. But it does look a bit like we missed the boat here by not selling him last summer — and by missing that boat, it may have led to Sebastian Saucedo leaving the club, too.

This could certainly turn out to be a good deal, and I’d support it for the player, but if RSL did miss out on a $7.5 million fee as rumored — and again, that was never publicly confirmed — one does wonder what the decision-making process was there. Now, of course, it was initially reported by Sky Sports, so, you know, grain of salt and all that. The fee was probably inflated by the media report, too.

Still, it’s an interesting thing.

RSL purchased Savarino from Zulia in Nov. 2017 after a short loan stint, and while the fee agreed was kept secret (as per usual), we do know it wasn’t insubstantial.

All this is just to say: I don’t know how to feel about this, but I feel good for the player, because it would be incredibly painful on a personal level to not share important moments with family.

Other players coming in?

I wrote last week about how Savarino was one of the few players in the squad that can regularly produce magic. I might even argue he’s the only one that has done it consistently — he is, after all, a player that breaks the tactics of other teams. Everyone else exists as part of the opposing tactical force, but Savarino has been special.

I think it’s fair to say, then, that we need players, and we probably need them in short order, because preseason has started.

We needed a winger before we agreed this deal — we’re down to one or two-ish, and that’s Corey Baird and Maikel Chang.

The Athletic report does specify that RSL is looking at a TAM-level winger and a young-DP-level winger, both of which would be welcome additions. It makes me wonder, of course, if that’s enough.

I guess we’ll see. But with any move, there’s always a chance it could fall apart at the last minute — especially when it’s an international move. And while the RSL-Atletico Mineiro side appears to be done-ish, I wouldn’t count on anything until it’s on the official website.

At any rate, maybe we can coax Landon Donovan out of retirement.

Off topic

I don’t think I wrote about Star Trek: Picard having aired — and for your sake and for spoilers’ sake, I won’t do that now — but it was just so, so good. I’m curious what you all thought, if you watched.

I also binge-watched all of Servant, an Apple TV+ original. It was ... fine. Honestly, I have no idea what happened at all during the show. I don’t suspect answers are forthcoming in season two. Oh well.