For a good deal of Craig Waibel’s tenure as Real Salt Lake’s General Manager and Technical Director at Real Salt Lake, the club has been linked with former striker Yura Movsisyan. On Friday, all the speculation about the Spartak Moscow forward was put to rest when RSL announced that the club has agreed to a loan of the Armenian international that will return Movsisyan to the Claret-and-Cobalt for the first time since winning MLS Cup in 2009.
“It’s always nice and you feel a little bit of relief when you finally get these done,” Waibel said. “The nerves are just kind of excited now to see this all come together.”
The thing that Waibel is anxiously awaiting now is to see how Movsisyan, who scored 48 goals in 112 matches in the Russian Premier League with FC Krasnodar and Spartak Moscow, will mix with the attacking group that includes Javier Morales, Joao Plata, Juan Manuel Martinez and Sebastian Jaime. When Real Salt Lake opens training camp in Sandy next week, the beginnings of that process will take shape as Salt Lake rolls towards a CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal tilt with UANL Tigres on February 24 in Monterrey, Mexico, and March 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
His style of play, acumen for goal and experiences playing abroad, Waibel said, will help him adjust quickly to his new teammates in his old uniform.
“Yura is the type of player who has played in multiple countries around the world and multiple styles. What he is and what he brings is a very clear, consistent performance. Having him together with this group from the beginning is going to be a really good thing for us and it’s an exciting time,” Waibel said. “We’ve got some great players on our roster and Yura isn’t being brought here to be the only good player. We really now have a selection of attacking players that give us so many choices and so many combinations to play. It’s a matter of getting them together and getting them working together and practicing enough in the preseason to make sure it clicks.”
Movsisyan’s previous stint with RSL saw him score 15 goals in 53 matches for the Claret-and-Cobalt from 2007-09, culminating in lifting the MLS Cup trophy in 2009. Since then he has proven to be a scoring force with Randers in Denmark and FC Krasnodar and Spartak Moscow in the Russian Premier League.
In that time, he has used his experiences to become a stronger and smarter player who brings a lot to the table.
“He’s a strong presence. He’s a powerful runner. He’s strong on the ball,” Waibel said. “He strikes the ball very well from distance, but also attacks the ball well in the box and has good instincts. He’s very tricky in his movements and getting away from players.”
Movsisyan checks all of the proverbial boxes for Real Salt Lake as a goal-scoring forward with history in the league and a desire to play in Utah. In addition, at 28 years old he still has plenty of prime years still ahead of him, making him a great candidate to usher RSL into the next stage of its evolution as a club and his style of play is exactly the type of forward that complements the pieces already in place.
“He fits what we’re trying to do and what we want to get back to, which is get the ball on the ground and build and break teams down and control pace of play. He’s able to connect. He’s able to accelerate. He’s able to lay a ball off and turn and beat defenders. He’s able to square defenders up and beat them one-on-one,” Waibel said. “He does fit exactly into the mold of Plata, of Javi, of Juan – those three across – that are really good at isolating players and connecting and they can beat players multiple ways. He adds to that.”