New York Red Bulls say Thierry Henry's unresolved future "irrelevant" to Designated Player hunt

Thierry Henry acts Gallic in TORvNY

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USA Today Sports

HANOVER, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls’ search for their next Designated Player continues, and so too do the conversations with one currently on their books.

The Red Bulls have long been looking for a potential third DP to bolster their roster, but the club does not appear any closer to signing one, even with the World Cup soon coming to a close.

In fact, there is the possibility that New York will not add one this summer, despite their persistent efforts to find a player that can both make an impact and fit under the club’s already-saturated salary cap.

“I can’t really use words 'likely' or 'unlikely.' What I can say is we are looking,” Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said Thursday. “We have been for months thinking about it, looking. [Red Bulls head of global football] Gerard Houllier is at the World Cup talking to managers, players, etc. and looking there on our behalf. We’ve been scouting all over the place. That remains an option for us, but that’s what it really means: an option.”

Roxburgh did not mention any names but confessed that some of the players the club is interested in are currently under contract with other teams and would not be realistic options unless they became available. Regardless, New York are not giving up on the market just yet.

The Red Bulls are also trying to work through the question of whether star striker Thierry Henry will return after his DP contract expires at season’s end. Roxburgh had said earlier in the year that the club would need to have some idea of what’s going to happen by the summer, but New York and Henry have yet to come to a resolution.

“I’ve been talking to him endlessly,” said Roxburgh. “We’ve been talking a lot about his situation and so on, same with Tim [Cahill], so there’s nothing to report on that at this moment in time.”

From the outside, it seems logical that a decision about Henry’s future will play a part in the Red Bulls’ game plan for pursuing another Designated Player. If he were to leave, adding a forward would become a priority. If he were to prolong his stay, addressing a team need like a playmaking midfielder or left-sided player would take precedence.

Roxburgh, however, said Henry’s future is playing no part in the Red Bulls’ approach to landing a DP this summer.

“It’s irrelevant. Titi’s situation is not a discussion at the moment,” said Roxburgh. “We’re allowed to have three DPs. We’ve got two at the moment. Whether we sign one or don’t sign one has got nothing to do with Titi’s situation.”

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