Real Salt Lake have completed the re-signing of forward Jefferson Savarino from Brazilian Serie A side Atletico Mineiro, the club announced ahead of Wednesday's closing of the MLS primary transfer window.
The 25-year-old Venezuela international returns to RSL as a Designated Player through 2025 with an option for 2026 and is the club's first DP under their new ownership group. To sign Savarino, RSL had to spend $475,000 in General Allocation Money to move ahead of Austin FC and FC Cincinnati in the MLS Allocation Order.
In his previous spell with RSL, Savarino hit 22 goals and 22 assists in 88 appearances across all competitions. He returns following an impressive stay in Brazil, with 42 direct goal contributions (21g/21a) in 93 games for Atletico Mineiro.
“Bringing Jefferson back to Salt Lake has been an exciting process in recent months – obviously we have great memories of him here representing our badge, our colors, our community, and certainly sparking our attack,” RSL general manager Elliot Fall said in a club press release.
“During his time in Brazil over the last couple [of] years, Jefferson has matured as a player and as a person. We expect him to provide even more danger as a playmaking and finishing option for RSL, and look forward to him combining with so many pieces on the roster. Our club could not be more elated to welcome Jefferson and his family back to Utah.”
Savarino will link up with compatriot Sergio Cordova in the RSL attack, which has managed just 10 goals in the club's opening 10 games of the 2022 MLS season - despite a strong start from Pablo Mastroeini's side.
“My family and I have long anticipated a return to Utah; we have great memories of the fans, the community, the stadium and of course my teammates,” Savarino said. “I am told that our locker room is very much together, very tight-knit, and that the club is poised for success.
"I look forward to meeting Pablo Mastroeni in person and working with him and the entire staff, as my friend Damir has shared with me wonderful things. I am grateful to Elliot, the new owners and everyone who helped make this move back to Real Salt Lake happen. I am focused on scoring goals and creating excitement and doing absolutely whatever it takes to bring trophies and success to Utah.”