D.C. United has taken interest in Real Salt Lake veteran defender Robbie Russell to play right back, the Insider has learned. Russell, 32, is out of contract with RSL, and barring an agreement this week, would be available in the MLS re-entry drafts Dec. 5 and 12.

With Jed Zayner’s career in the balance because of injuries and Chris Korb entering just his second season, United needs to address the right side of the backline.

Much more.....

Russell, a former Duke player, has started 68 regular season matches and 10 playoff games since joining RSL in the middle of the 2008 season from Danish club Viborg. Previously, he played for Rosenborg and Sogndal in Norway.

This year Russell made 29 appearances and 25 starts overall in MLS competition. He earned about $135,000 and, at this stage of his career, would probably have to accept a pay cut. RSL is confronting salary cap challenges this offseason and seems prepared to move forward with him.

Russell would certainly like to relocate to Washington: His wife is a D.C.-based attorney.

United General Manager Dave Kasper said he didn’t want to comment on player speculation.

With four seasons of MLS service, Russell is eligible for the re-entry drafts, which were created during the 2010 negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. It allows players greater flexibility to move within the league without their previous club requiring compensation.

MLS clubs have until Tuesday to submit the list of players whose options have been exercised or have received bonafide offers. On Wednesday, MLS will make public the list of players eligible for the re-entry drafts. However, clubs have until Friday at 5 p.m. to re-sign their players who are eligible for the re-entry drafts or sign and trade those players.

Last winter United claimed forwards Josh Wolff and Joseph Ngwenya in the re-entry drafts. Re-entry rules and timetables are available here.

In other DCU news.....

Defender Brandon McDonald and midfielder Kurt Morsink underwent hernia surgery in Germany. Defender Ethan White had the same procedure earlier this month. Recovery time is less than a month......

Coach Ben Olsen has embarked on a scouting trip abroad. Club officials declined to say which countries he will visit.....

Goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who trained informally with West Brom this month, might return to Europe for additional work.