Nothing is formal and announced yet, it should be stressed, but that’d conclude a transfer saga that’s spanned several windows and included the Cityzens' $15 million valuation of the 23-year-old Argentine. It'd also follow rebuffed bids from clubs like Palmeiras (Brazil) and River Plate (Argentina) that fell short of NYCFC’s asking price.
To ask directly: Would Girona be a good move for Castellanos, the 2021 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner? Extratime co-host Andrew Wiebe feels so, even if it's not the Premier League leap many hoped for.
“I'm just happy to see him in Europe,” Wiebe said. “I didn't want to see him go back to South America. I thought for NYCFC's developmental path, with all these young players like Talles Magno coming through, you want to see him make that next jump and hopefully Taty was the first.
“I think that's why we all wanted to see him sold for the $15 million and have it just be done, money in the bank, have some sort of precedent established, and maybe that will come.”
Girona have been somewhat of a yo-yo club in recent years, spending 2017-19 in Spain’s top flight before flipping back down to the second division for a couple seasons and re-earning promotion. Amid that back and forth, Extratime’s Matt Doyle thinks it’d be a promising springboard toward a higher-profile club.
“He's where he wants to be. He's in Europe in a big-five league,” Doyle said, with the pretense that things go official. “He's going to get a chance to prove himself and if he plays like he did for NYCFC the past year and a half, he will prove himself.
“His development into one of the league's most lethal goalscorers is absurd. He had 23 goals in his first 86 games for NYCFC. He's had 36 goals in his last 47 games.”
At Girona, part of City Football Group’s expansive umbrella, he’d likely be a go-to player much like Nahuel Bustos was in recent years. Also a striker from Argentina, Bustos has been on loan at Girona from Manchester City and provides a case study for what could await Castellanos.
Castellanos, whose NYCFC career began in 2018 while on loan from City Football Group and Uruguayan side Torque, would likely feature alongside a veteran of the 2014 and 2018 World Cups with La Celeste.
“I have very little doubt he's going to go to Girona, dominate and then get the move, whatever it is,” Extratime co-host David Gass said. “Cristhian Stuani, the Uruguayan international, he's been there, the one constant at Girona over these years. He'll start up top with him, which I think is a perfect pairing for Taty to find the game and do what he does best.”
Beforehand, reports indicate a formal home sendoff awaits on Saturday when NYCFC host Inter Miami CF at Yankee Stadium (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+). If that indeed pans out, it’ll surely be an emotional occasion for the club, player and fans with Europe calling.
For more Extratime analysis, check out their latest episode here.