After making publicly known that they were targeting a defensive player, Real Salt Lake appears to be one step closer to finding their man in the back. Brayan Vera, a Colombian left back playing at America de Cali, has been linked with a move to Utah after what appears to be a substantial bid for his rights.
That bid has been rumored at $1.8 million, although one should always exercise caution with rumored numbers.
Vera, 24, moved to Italy to play for Italian outfit Lecce as a 20-year-old, where he struggled to break into the team. He spent a season on loan at Serie B side Cosenza Calcio, where he featured somewhat regularly as a wide midfielder (largely in front of three-man back lines) through a good chunk of 2020. 2021 saw him relegated to the bench, and 2022 saw him transferred to America de Cali.
Vera came up with Colombian club Leones, and his move to Italy was certainly one that seemed promising, despite the outcome of his time abroad.
Vera has played wide midfield, primarily on the left, left back, and center back, the latter of which he played only sparingly.
It's difficult to say if $1.8 million is a justified price for Vera. At 24 and at such an outlay, he'll be expected to be a regular fixture in the team, and it's initially difficult to assess what that means for the player and the team.
The first major question is if Vera is being targeted for a starting role. If he is, is it as a left back? Is RSL coach Pablo Mastroeni targeting a four-man backline to start the season, or will he give the 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 another effort?
The second major question is if Vera is essentially being treated as a left-side like-for-like for departed RSL homegrown player Aaron Herrera. It's difficult to say without seeing him on the field, and this remains my biggest curiosity from the whole thing. Is the move only made necessary by Herrera's departure?
The final question is if somebody is trying to create a team composed entirely of players named variations of Brian. Given we have a number of players without said name, it might be a long shot — but you never know in this league.
Vera certainly fills an essential gap in the defensive line, with Oviedo a player without significant minutes under his belt over the last five years. While he does appear to bring some depth at center back, it seems a long shot that he's being targeted for that role, given his relative lack of experience playing the role.