FRISCO, TX - MAY 22: Alvarez: Reportedly on his way to Portugal (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
Correction: The original report, linked in this article, from Elsalvador.com, noted that Arturo Alvarez was set to sign with Rio Ave, but he signed with another Portuguese first division club, Paços de Ferreira, according to Univision.com (Spanish). We've crossed out the previous references to Rio Ave, but left them in the original article.
It looks like Chivas USA's crowded midfield just got a little less crowded. Arturo Alvarez, selected by Chivas in the first phase of the Re-Entry draft in December, is reportedly signing with Portuguese first division side
Rio Ave, as reported by Elsalvador.com (Spanish). While this report is the main one circulating, other news sites, including the MLS league website, are also reporting the story.
Although Chivas picked up Alvarez's MLS rights through the Re-Entry draft, he was never under contract to the Goats and it has been known that Alvarez was looking at options abroad, so the move comes as little surprise. Initial reports had it that he was looking at the Mexican primera, but Alvarez himself had mentioned he was looking at going to Europe, so it looks like his dream of playing on the continent will be realized.
As for the club,
Rio Ave is in the top division in Portugal, but they are not one of the top teams. The implication is that perhaps Alvarez will have a chance at playing time with the first team, otherwise it will be a frustrating move indeed. The club is currently sitting in 12th place (out of 16) so there is certainly room for improvement. The club is almost entirely made up of Portuguese and Brazilian players, so it will be up to the American-born Salvadorean to integrate with the rest of the squad.
For Chivas, Alvarez's signing probably works out pretty well, all things considered. Although Alvarez has talent, he also has a reputation of being something of a diva, and Chivas can't afford to take on a head case (especially considering Ryan Smith already has the reputation, and the rule of thumb is that more than one head case per team is a recipe for disaster). More than that, Alvarez would come with a relatively high price tag if he signed with the Goats. He made $192,585 in base salary for Real Salt Lake in 2011 ($201,922.50 guaranteed compensation). Because Chivas took Alvarez in the first phase of the Re-Entry draft, they would have had to pay him something in that range if they agreed on a contract. Considering the tight budget the club is working with, it seems more prudent to spend the money on other players, and hopefully some of the new players coming into the midfield, including Ryan Smith, Oswaldo Minda, and Miller Bolaños can offer the dynamism that the club needs. In the meantime, Chivas will hold onto the rights of Alvarez, so they may sign him at a later date or use his rights as a trade asset in the league. Whether or not Arturo eventually comes to Chivas, best of luck to him in Portugal.
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