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Real Salt Lake and Argentine midfielder Gonzalez agree to contract

Real Salt Lake officially reached a contract agreement with 20-year-old Argentine midfielder Nelson Gonzalez on Tuesday evening.

Gonzalez joined the team on a trial early last week, but RSL coach Jason Kreis said his signing was an inevitability once his immigration and work visa were finalized, which happened Tuesday.

RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey doesn't expect Gonzalez to be an instant impact player. He's more of a long-term project with just two years of professional experience in the Argentine first division.

"Nelson has enormous talent, who you can then integrate into your team over a period. A year ago, we couldn't have added a player like this," said Lagerwey. "We can now afford to take on one or more of these longer term projects that have tons of upside."

The youngster is a player capable of playing in the middle or the left side of the midfield.

"He is another left-footed attacking option. We started the year with none and now we have three," said Lagerwey.

Gonzalez is the third summer transfer window acquisition for Real Salt Lake. On July 15, the club traded a 2010 draft pick to San Jose for 6-foot-3 striker Pablo Campos. Two weeks ago, midfielder Rachid El Khalifi joined the team after playing 10 years in Holland.

Gonzalez joins RSL on a loan from his Argentine club Quilmes. Lagerwey said RSL has an option to extend the loan every six months, and at 12 months there is a fixed cost buyout clause. Lagerwey loves Gonzalez's upside, and he's ecstatic that the cost to buy out his contract won't increase by a good performance.

e-mail: jedward@desnews.com