RSL signs attacking midfielder David Viana in eyebrow-raising move

RSL signs attacking midfielder David Viana in eyebrow-raising move


David Viana.

What about him? Oh, oh. We signed him. Apparently. Well, pending an international transfer clearance request's completion, and pending a work visa. So, yes. We signed him, and signings are exciting, but it leaves us with a few well-placed questions.

Who is he?

David Viana is a Portuguese attacking midfielder who can reportedly play at forward. Beyond that, anything involving his play is speculation at this point, so I'll avoid it. Unless, of course, you're an expert in the French and Spanish third and fourth divisions, and then, by all means, let's hear it. Or if you've seen him in training — that would work too.

But we can gather a bit about his background, so let's do that, shall we? He played with RC Strasbourg, who have seen more than their fair share of financial trouble in recent years. Strasbourg did moderately well in the UEFA Cup in 2005-06, but they were relegated twice in three seasons by 2010 — a long way to fall, indeed. They were liquidated and removed from the third division, and at this point, David Viana's involvement ends — certainly during that liquidation.

An interesting side note: From 1997 to 2003 or thereabouts, Strasbourg was owned by IMG, the same company running IMG Academy — the residency program for our youth national team, and a big part of Project 2010, of which Kyle Beckerman was a part. Interesting, but surely a coincidence and not much more, as Viana would have been just a kid at the time.

From there — in September 2011, it would seem — our attacking midfielder hopped over to Atletico Madrid C, the second reserves team of that club you've probably heard of from Madrid that we don't share much of a name with. Atletico C plays in the fourth tier of the Spanish system, and even then, I'm not really sure if he played much with them or not. At some point, he also played with the Portugal youth teams, perhaps up to the U-19 level.

During the summer, though, things must not have been going quite as he'd have liked playing in the fourth tier of a broken system. He saw trials with Burnley FC in England's second tier, CS Sedan in France's Ligue 2, and Birmingham City in England's Championship. There are rumors — barely substantiated ones, at that — that Maritimo in Portugal and Auxerre and Lille in France were interested him at this time. (One article suggested he was looked at as a long-term replacement to former Lille playmaker Eden Hazard, but I somehow doubt this.)

As a relative journeyman, Viana — still quite young at only 20 — came to Real Salt Lake, and we've signed him. As a club of castoffs (of sorts, at least), he sort of fits the RSL profile, and perhaps that's a good thing. Much remains to be seen.

Where does he play?

Early reports suggest (I've always wanted to say that here) that Viana can feature in the forward-most three midfield spots. Where this places him in the thinking of Jason Kreis is hard to say. He's in the same age range as Enzo Martinez and Sebastian Velasquez, both of whom are also pegged for those spots. It also further enhances our depth around Javier Morales,  which can't be a bad thing, but it does raise some questions.

Why did we sign him?

Oh, questions. We could easily spell them out right here, couldn't we? Let's.

— Where does Viana stand in relation to Luis Gil? Will they both be battling to backup Javier Morales?
— Will we see Viana this season? Is he being brought in with eyes on 2013?
— If Viana couldn't cut it at his previous clubs, will he be able to cut it here?
— What does this all mean for next year? Are we witnessing one of the first moves in advance of a systematic deconstruction of the squad?