UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe spoke earlier in the week of the club discussing personal terms with a third Designated Player that could soon join the team.
It turns out that may not be the case.
Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Solér (above, right) spoke to media following the team’s Friday morning practice session, and among the topics discussed was the negotiations with the unknown player. Solér said the team is currently not close to finalizing a deal with any Designated Player and that finishing the season with just their current two DPs is a real possibility.
“Hans is very optimistic at times, that’s his job,” Solér told reporters with a laugh. “We’re looking and we’re figuring out what to do, how to do it and if there’s options. But as I said all the time, it could happen now, but it could also happen after the season, so we’ll see. I would downgrade the fact that we’re close to anything. We’re not.”
Solér added the club is hopeful of signing another DP that would fit the No. 10 role before the summer transfer window closes in two weeks, and that it is not opposed to doing a deal where a player would just sign for the rest of the season. He also said the Red Bulls are looking at all options, from South America to Central America to Europe.
“We have a very long list of people that would like to come,” Solér said. “But if it’s doable and if it’s right for the team and if it fits the way we play and the brand and everything, that’s another story. We’re still working to do the right thing. As you know, it’s always a big step to take and we have to make sure it works out.”
Another hot topic of conversation with the Red Bulls these days is the ongoing Luke Rodgers’ situation, and Solér had little to say on the subject besides what is already known.
“We’ve done our paper work,” he said. “It’s somewhere in the paper mill. We don’t know exactly where it is. Until we get a clear feedback, I can only repeat myself.”
The Red Bulls have been saying for weeks that a decision is looming. But Solér said, at worst, the club can wait for Rodgers until the middle of August, though they would like a resolution to come sooner.
“We’re evaluating that situation all the time, of course,” he said. “We know that a lot of other options would close down [if we wait too long], so it’s something we have to, within the next week or something, think how seriously of how long we can wait.”
While the Red Bulls may not be any closer to reacquiring Rodgers, they did fill a void by adding a third goalkeeper on Friday, trading a 2014 Supplemental Draft pick for LA Galaxy netminder Bill Gaudette.
The 30-year-old Gaudette, a Puerto Rico international who played at St. John’s University during his collegiate years, is expected to be at the Red Bulls’ training session on Saturday.
He appeared in three matches for the Galaxy this season and previously spent time with the Columbus Crew.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.