SANDY — Real Salt Lake bolstered its midfield Monday morning.
The club has signed Brazilian midfielder Everton Luiz on loan from Italian side Societa Polisportiva Ars et Labor (SPAL) for the 2019 season, Real Salt Lake announced Monday. The 30-year-old midfielder will join the team in time for preseason training camp in late January, pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate.
Luiz’s current club, SPAL from Ferrera, Italy, in Serie A, announced Monday morning that it had agreed to a temporary transfer to Real Salt Lake, effective through Dec. 31, 2019.
Details of the Luiz's contract with RSL were not disclosed, but it is assumed that RSL will have an option to purchase Luiz’s contract outright at the conclusion of the loan, as is typical policy for the Major League Soccer side.
"MLS is a league that is growing a lot and becoming more and more competitive," Luiz said in a statement from RSL. "I am coming to a structured club that is full of potential to go further. I've reached my dream of playing in one of the biggest leagues on the planet and share the pitch with many of the best players.
"I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted and I’m looking forward to new challenges and saw in Real Salt Lake a huge opportunity to keep growing in my career."
Luiz is an 11-year veteran known for his aggressive, hard-tackling style at defensive midfield — a position of need after RSL declined contract options on Luke Mulholland and Sunny Stephen.
Mulholland has recently re-engaged in contract negotiations with the club, but Stephen had previously announced via Twitter that he was moving on from Salt Lake City. Luiz should be seen as a replacement to pair alongside team captain Kyle Beckerman in head coach Mike Petke’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
A native of Porto Alegre, Brazil, Luiz began his senior career with Ponte Preta in his homeland before moving on to stops at Palmeiras and CRB. He moved to Switzerland in 2013 to play for FC Lugano and St. Gallen, then transferred to Serbian club Partizan Belgrade.
While at Partizan, Luiz was reportedly the target of several racist taunts from opposing fans; he once left the field in tears during a 1-0 win over Rad that featured a racist banner over the stands where Rad fans were standing, according to the Associated Press.
He appeared in 21 matches for SPAL during the 2018 season and has seven goals in his career, including three at Partizan Belgrade.