HARRISON, N.J. – New York Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Solér has been extremely busy the past few weeks, and things are likely to stay that way for him in the near future.
Speaking to media prior to the Red Bulls’ 2-2 draw with the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, a candid Solér addressed the club’s recent trades and the logic behind each move.
Solér went into specifics as to why the club sent long-time player Dane Richards and allocation money to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for striker Sébastien Le Toux. He said the decision was merely done from a business standpoint, and that it was not an easy deal to pull the trigger on due to his, and head coach Hans Backe’s, personal fondness of the Jamaican international.
HIGHLIGHTS: NY 2, SEA 2
“When you trade a player like Dane, it’s a matter of two different emotions,” said Solér. “One is your personal emotion, which it was very hard because we absolutely love Dane. He’s been a fantastic professional, he’s a great guy and it is so hard when you like someone, both Hans and myself and everybody else does. Dane is a great guy in all ways.
“We knew he was probably going to leave us in the [winter]," Solér continued. "His agent was very clear that he was going to go to Europe and there was probably offers coming up for him to go. Then we had to look at it in a professional and business matter, which we did, and we thought bringing Sébastien here was the right move. We know what he can do, we’ve seen what he’s done with [the Philadelphia Union] over the last two seasons.”
Like Richards, Le Toux also has only six months remaining on his current deal and he has also expressed interest in the past of playing overseas. But New York have not talked to the French forward about extending his contract, and they do not plan to until after the season.
In a nutshell, the team made the move to acquire him with the thought that he improves their chances of winning their first MLS Cup.
“We were doing it very simple: We were thinking about the next four, five, six months,” said Solér. “We haven’t talked anything further than that at the moment. We just did what we thought was best for the team and we’re confident that Sébastien will do very well here and get us some goals. Then if it works out well, we’ll sit down with him and see what his plans are.”
WATCH: Le Toux reacts to first game in NY
Le Toux might not be the only new forward to join New York this month. Former Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes attacker Quincy Amarikwa has spent the last week trialing with the Red Bulls and he must have impressed, as Solér and Backe are keen on signing him.
“We have made a decision that we’re going to move forward,” said Solér. “But I have to speak to [technical director Ricardo Campos] to see exactly where we’re at. But we like him, we liked him when we watched him play last year and I think he can bring something extra to us as well.”
Gaudette brings veteran presence to GK corp
Solér actually started off his interview by touching on New York’s trade for Bill Gaudette, the 30-year-old goalkeeper who started on Sunday in place of injured incumbent Ryan Meara after taking a cross-country flight to join the Red Bulls from the LA Galaxy last Friday.
“We’ve been working on that for a while, simply because we have two very young goalkeepers,” Solér told reporters. “Ryan had been playing probably more games already than he normally does in a year, so we were sort of expecting that in the end he could end up with some strain and maybe smaller issues with injury. It’s more or less a coincidence that it actually happened exactly when it did, but we’re happy that we were able to reach an agreement with LA and get Bill in.”
Solér also added that Meara might be able to return to the Red Bulls lineup if his injured hip shows signs of progress.
“He can play later this week if needed,” said Solér. “It’s the kind of injury where if he really needed to play, he could play, and if you don’t really need him, you rest him to make sure it doesn’t get any worse. It’s not any kind of a serious injury. As I said, he’s played many games for a young man and his muscles are tired and that’s it.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.