Holding just the 31st overall pick in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, the Red Bulls aren’t likely to emerge from the event with a player to bolster their starting XI. That’s why the club will look elsewhere for help.
During a Wednesday afternoon conference call with the media, sporting director Erik Solér confirmed that the club is pursuing a third Designated Player, one who has “qualities going forward.”
“We are in discussion with a couple,” Solér said. “If they’re going to happen, it’s [uncertain whether it is] going to happen now or the summer. It’s hard to say. For most of those players, it’s a little more complicated in the winter time because of the contract they’re in. But I’m confident we’ll add a DP this year, but it might be in the summer.”
Despite already fielding one of the most expensive and star-studded lineups in MLS, the Red Bulls are looking to add a central midfielder to bolster an attack that features Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo, Luke Rodgers and Dane Richards. New York lost that spark when they traded reigning MLS MVP Dwayne DeRosario last summer to D.C. United in exchange for Dax McCarty, a more defensive-minded central midfielder.
Solér wants that spark back, which is why he's targeted a big-name move.
The talk of a third Designated Player means that goalkeeper Frank Rost, who signed last August as the club’s third and DP, won’t be returning for as high of a salary-cap hit – should he return at all. The Red Bulls want the vocal and authoritative ‘keeper back, whether his role be on or off the pitch.
“Frank’s status will be more known in a week from now,” Solér said. “We want to keep Frank in a position where he should be playing but also working with us on the business side. He’s a very smart guy – we used him for various things this season and it worked out very well.”
Without revealing a name, Solér confessed that he has also set his sights on a young American goalkeeper who “has the definite potential to be our future No. 1,” and that the New York are negotiating with his European club, a deal Solér hopes to finalize next week.
“He has played abroad; he is still under contract with the club abroad, so that might take a little bit of time to figure out that situation,” the Red Bulls boss said of his target. “But he wants to play for us and wants to play for the US. For the long term, it’d be great for us to find an American goalkeeper we can build on.”
Kristian R. Dyer cover the Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com