Real Salt Lake has retained one of its main enforcers in the midfield.

The club announced Wednesday that it signed defensive midfielder Everton Luiz to a permanent transfer using targeted allocation money. Luiz was on loan last season from Italian club S.P.A.L.

“We are thrilled to be able to keep a foundational piece of our midfield,” RSL general manager Elliot Fall said in a statement. “He joined us in 2019 and quickly established himself as a key contributor to everything we are trying to do.”

Luiz made an immediate impact when he joined RSL at the start of the 2019 season. He started 26 of 29 games, including the playoffs, and that number could have been more had it not been for an injury that kept him out a few games during the regular season.

Luiz spent most of his time on the field last season paired with captain Kyle Beckerman.

“With such a young team, Everton added a veteran presence and his work-ethic and ability to break up plays while showing some flair was important to our success,” RSL coach Freddy Juarez said in a statement. “He adds to our toughness on the field and his professionalism in the locker room helps set the tone for what we want to do as a club.”

Luiz notched two assists and got off eight shots in 2019.