Chivas USA has decided to invest in veteran winger/forward Arturo Alvarez, claiming him in Monday's first-stage draft in Major League Soccer's re-entry process, even with his salary close to $200,000.
Alvarez, 26, a Texan who plays for El Salvador's national team after representing the U.S. at the youth levels, has scored 24 goals and 20 assists in 187 MLS games over nine seasons, but he's coming off an unhappy experience at Real Salt Lake, where he played in just 16 games, starting eight, in 2011.
He has started 20 games in a season just three, in 2007 at FC Dallas, in 2008 between Dallas and San Jose, and in 2009 in San Jose. He scored a career-best six goals in 2008 and five the following season.
“Arturo is a player who I've always thought had a very interesting skill set,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser told ESPN Los Angeles. “He's very, very comfortable on the ball, good taking players on. The type of player who I think it is very difficult for defenders to deal with.”
Alvarez is out-of-contract, and Chivas is forced to make a “Bona Fide Offer” that is at least equal to Alvarez's 2011 salary, which was $192,585 ($201,933.50 average guaranteed compensation). The forward also is believed to be considering options in Mexico.
“I think there is a possibility that Arturo has had an eye for leaving the league for a long time ...,” Fraser said. “The word on him is thatt he's always wanting to go overseas. Hopefully, he's interested in staying. Perhaps he goes overseas and doesn't like to options available to him, in which case we have the opportunity to keep him.”
Fraser said Alvarez's price tag was not a deterrent.
“There's a negotiation to be had, no matter what,” Fraser said. “I think he's a player who can be extremely, extremely dangerous in this league and has shown he's a player who can be very dangerous creating opportunities both for himself and other people. We don't necessarily look at that number and say no way, because we do think he can be very productive.”
Alvarez, who went to RSL in a trade from Portland after his selection in last year's expansion draft, was one of three players taken in Monday's first stage. New England selected winger Danleigh Borman, out of contract at Toronto FC, and Columbus drafted defender Carlos Mendes, whose option was declined by New York.
Clubs may through Friday negotiate with and sign their remaining players on the re-entry list. A second-stage draft will be held next Monday -- with clubs able to negotiate new deals with selected players -- and those not chosen will become free agents.
Chivas has five players on the re-entry list after re-signing Canadian defender Ante Jazic on Friday -- goalkeeper Zach Thornton, defender Andrew Boyens, midfielders Simon Elliott and Mariano Trujillo, and forward Chukwudi Chijindu -- and Fraser said “everything is being considered” but that the club was “not actively considering renewals” with the quintet.
Re-signing Jazic, the starting left back whose option was declined at $115,000 ($123,500), was a priority.
“I never wanted to lose Ante,” Fraser said. “That was never the thought, never the plan. Certainly, we felt that he had a good and very productive season for us. He's an experienced pro. You look at out team, we were pretty inconsistent a number of places on the field, but we felt Ante had a good amount of consistency.”
The Galaxy have two players remaining in the process -- defenders Frankie Hejduk and Dasan Robinson -- after Jovan Kirovski and Adam Cristman withdrew, likely to negotiate new deals with L.A.
WORTH NOTING: Salvadoran forward Andres “Ruso” Flores told Salvadoran daily El Mundo that he's had recent conversations with Chivas, but Fraser says he doesn't “have knowledge” of the Isidro Metapan striker. ... Fraser said he likes Ecuadoran midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who last week told El Universo that he's been offered a three-year contract by the Goats. “He's a talented, intense, focused player that we've identified that we have interest in,” the coach said.
ELSEWHERE: Other news around MLS ...
The Chicago Fire confirmed they have acquired forward Orr Barouch's rights from UANL Tigres. Barouch (Woodland Hills/El Camino Real HS), 20, played for the Fire last season on loan from the Mexican club.
Chicago also traded a 2013 supplemental draft choice to Vancouver for backup goalkeeper Jay Nolly, who withdrew from the re-entry process after the Whitecaps declined his option.
New England re-signed 33-year-old midfielder Shalrie Joseph, the face of its franchise, to a Designated Player contract.
Midfielder Brian Mullan re-signed with Colorado.
D.C. United winger Santino Quaranta, who spent parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Galaxy, has retired at 27. D.C. declined its option on the 11-year-veteran, who withdrew Friday from the re-entry process. Quaranta, who signed with D.C. at 16, memorably battled substance abuse following his departure from L.A.
Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch confirmed talks with French striker Nicolas Anelka, and the Chelsea star told media He's “known for a little while where I’ll be on Jan. 2.” Shanghai Shenhua and AC Milan also are believed to be suitors.