Kaka, Eric Abidal "not in focus" as New York Red Bulls continue to shop for third Designated Player

HARRISON, N.J – The New York Red Bulls are considering signing a third Designated Player during the upcoming summer transfer window, but apparently Kaká is not in the running to be that player.

Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh met with media for the first time in months on Thursday and discussed a litany of topics, including where New York stand in their pursuit of another DP.

Roxburgh was asked specifically about Kaká and whether the Red Bulls are in negotiations to sign him, and while the Scotsman did not reject the notion that the Red Bulls are interested in the Brazilian, he seemed to indicate that there was nothing of substance going on with the Real Madrid playmaker at the moment.

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“He’s a name that has been suggested to us but right now we don’t know, in fact I don’t even know if Kaká knows, what he’s going to do next,” Roxburgh told reporters inside Red Bull Arena. “Whether he’s going to be at Real or whether he’s going to move to another club in Europe or whether he’s going to be available. No one knows the answer to that at this stage.

“For me, at this moment in time, it’s not something you’d say, ‘Well, let’s pursue that. Let’s go and talk to him.’ This is simply another name that kind of sits out there in space that might at some point come more into focus. I’ve brought into my focus a few names that I think could help this team and might be available to us. There’s a second band [of names] further out in the stratosphere that are interesting, but at this stage not available so far as we know, and all we do is keep our eye [out] and monitor the situation.”

While Roxburgh would not disclose who is on his periphery, he did say that veteran fullback Éric Abidal was not a player he has had discussions with. Abidal, a former French international who is set to leave FC Barcelona after six seasons with the Spanish champions, has recently been linked with a move to the Red Bulls by foreign media.

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“His name is one of these names that was raised some weeks ago to us, but I personally have not been involved in any talks with Éric Abidal or had anything to do, just heard his name,” said Roxburgh. “As you know, the rumor factory runs mad at this time [of year], so there’s a lot of names thrown up. … In this case, I haven’t spoken to Éric Abidal. He’s obviously been a top player, he has health problems as we know, but there’s nothing to say about that because there’s nothing tangible.”

Roxburgh may not have mentioned who he is looking at by name, but he did reveal that the Red Bulls will begin training at their new practice facility in Hanover, N.J. on June 18. The facility – which had been in the works even before Roxburgh joined the Red Bulls last fall – will have two grass fields and one artificial pitch as well as facilities for players to work out in.

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“The end of June, we’ll probably do a formal opening but the players will start training there [before],” said Roxburgh. “The academy will start appearing there, so the Under-23 team will come in a week after the first team and then the 16s and 18s two weeks after that.

“The academy will for the first time at least have part of a home, which they haven’t had so far. All of that is important because that will change the dynamic here. We’ll be able to do things in development sense because we’ve got our own place.”

The Red Bulls have spent the past few seasons training on the fields at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair.

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.