Since a flurry of action in the opening week of offseason moves, Real Salt Lake have been quiet compared to the rest of MLS. But fans of the Claret-and-Cobalt are still anxiously awaiting word on one of the most important players to don the uniform during the team's last four years of success: Javier Morales.
The best news for those fans is that Morales hasn't signed anywhere else, and that the team is still in talks with him.
"We are still talking, and that's good," said RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey. "They really are just cordial discussions at this point, but we're still working on it."
Though the team was forced to move some of their veterans due to salary-cap issues, RSL have expressed their desire to keep the Argentine playmaker.
"We would love to have him back," added Lagerwey. "He has been such an important part of the team and such a big player for us, that we would love to see him return."
But as much as the club would like to keep him, there is only so much they can do to make it happen. The salary cap and simple finances make it that way.
"For sure, he could make much, much more money playing in a different country," Lagerwey said. "If he wants to make more money and a team offers him a big contract, we will not be able to match it – plain and simple."
The positive spin is that so far that hasn't happened. The most likely destination for Morales if he weren't to return to RSL was to a big Mexican club, but as Liga MX clubs continue to finalize their rosters with the 2013 Clausura right around the corner, that becomes less and less of a possibility.
"In the practical real world, the Mexican teams — and that is our main competition here — pretty much stop signing around Christmas," Lagerwey said. "The window is actually a little longer, but that is the practical point."
Regardless of when it happens, RSL would simply like to get Morales a contract.
"He has been so important to us that we are not going to put out a deadline," Lagerwey explained. "We just want him back."
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- Garth Lagerwey
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