Paul Arriola is coming off an impressive recent run with the U.S. national team, most recently at the Gold Cup, and that has sparked interest from both sides of the Atlantic.
Sources tell Goal that teams in the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as a half dozen teams in MLS — including Real Salt Lake — have expressed strong interested in signing Arriola from Liga MX side Club Tijuana.
Xolos are believed to be open to a transfer for Arriola, who is coming off a career year at Club Tijuana, but his MLS prospects are complicated by the fact the LA Galaxy hold his rights.Sources tell Goal that the Galaxy have a claim through what can be best described as a dubious homegrown player tag, despite the fact Arriola barely participated in the Galaxy's academy.
A native of the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista, Arriola was one of the highest-rated youth players in the nation as a teenager, earning a place in the U.S. youth national team setup and playing in the 2011 Under-17 World Cup. He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.
The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy's current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola, and the Galaxy have more pressing needs at forward and along the back line, especially with the impending arrival of Mexican national team star Jonathan dos Santos.
Arriola has established himself as a regular contributor under current U.S. coach Bruce Arena, earning a start in the team's 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at Mexico in June before impressing at the Gold Cup, which included starts in the semifinals and Wednesday's Gold Cup final victory against Jamaica.