NYCFC coach addresses Taty Castellanos’ status amid LaLiga transfer reports

New York City FC striker Taty Castellanos is heavily linked with an imminent move to newly-promoted LaLiga side Girona, reportedly staying within the City Football Group family and getting a long-desired shot in Europe.

If that Spanish shift indeed pans out, it could make NYCFC’s game Saturday at Yankee Stadium vs. Inter Miami CF his send-off (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

Interim head coach Nick Cushing addressed as much Thursday, affirming the 2021 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner and current league scoring leader is ready to play against the Herons.

“Of course we're aware of the interest in Taty,” Cushing said. “He's here, he's played this morning, he's in the squad for Miami. He's as motivated as ever and a real important player for us. Like I said, we're aware of the story and a few guys asking questions. But he's training and he's in the squad for Saturday.”

Transfer speculation has followed the 23-year-old Argentine for the better part of a year, with NYCFC drawing headlines when putting a $15 million price tag on him. Bids from Palmeiras (Brazil) and River Plate (Argentina) were reportedly turned down after not meeting that valuation, while Premier League sides showed interest too.

But a destination appears within grasp for Castellanos, who has 32 goals and nine assists across NYCFC’s 48 regular-season games in the last one-and-a-half years.

“We're aware of the speculation, or we understand the speculation because of the player that Taty Castellanos is and the guy that he is,” Cushing said. “I think it's fair to say it could be his last game because everyone's talking about the interest.”

Ahead of an anticipated final contest in NYCFC colors, Castellanos could score for a fifth-straight game. The defending MLS Cup champions have won their last three matches and lead the Eastern Conference on points per game (1.9).

Castellanos initially joined NYCFC in 2018 while on loan from Uruguayan side Torque, another member of the City Football Group umbrella. He’s played over 8,000 regular-season minutes for the Cityzens, blossoming into arguably the league’s top striker while developing in the Bronx.

“He's really hungry to help the team win against Miami,” Cushing said. “He's really hungry to score and for me, that's the pleasing thing. We have a full squad to pick from and we can prepare the team for a really, really important game.”