UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The Alessandro Nesta to the New York Red Bulls rumors have been swirling in recent days, but club general manager Erik Solér looks to have put them to rest.
For now, at least.
Speaking to reporters about Nesta’s press conference on Thursday – in which the Italian center back said he was leaving AC Milan and intrigued by coming to MLS – Solér shot down the rumors that New York has a deal in place with the free agent defender.
“Normally, I don’t comment, but all I can say is we have no deal with anybody,” Solér told media after Friday’s practice. “No sign, no verbal, no nothing.”
Solér did not elaborate any further on the situation, but his denial of the stories in Europe that claim New York has a one-to-two-year deal with Nesta is the first time he has publicly touched on it.
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Henry returns to practice
Injured striker Thierry Henry is one step closer to making his return for the Red Bulls. The club’s leading scorer and captain was back on the practice field on Friday, going through agility drills and doing some ball work before getting stretched out by a trainer.
“He looked quite OK,” said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. “Probably you can think that, realistically, he could be back in the Chivas [USA] game on May 23 and the US Open Cup games.”
Solli suffering from thigh strain
Jan Gunnar Solli recently returned to New York’s lineup from a pair of injuries, but he might be forced to begin the upcoming match against the Philadelphia Union on the bench due to a completely new knock.
Solli, who has played at left midfielder since making his return from toe and calf injuries, is listed as probable for Sunday’s game at PPL Park (12:30 pm ET; ESPN2, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com) due to a thigh strain. The injury was sustained in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena.
“We have a problem with Jan’s left thigh,” said Backe. “I’ll have to wait until this afternoon [to determine if he can play].”
Lade, Meara get rookie treatment
You would have been hard-pressed not to notice the new haircuts full back Connor Lade and goalkeeper Ryan Meara were sporting on Friday.
The two Red Bulls youngsters endured painful some rookie hazing from their teammates before the morning practice session, as the hair on the back of their heads was shaved off in the form of the letters of their first names, respectively.
“Well I think the worst part was all the work I put into my hair leading up to this point,” said Lade. “But I'm not one to back down from my rookie duties.”