PHILADELPHIA – New York Red Bulls brass spoke out for the first time on Thursday on recent reports linking FC Barcelona star midfielder and Spanish international Xavi to the club.
After adding two players to RBNY's roster in the 2014 SuperDraft on Thursday – Wake Forest right back Chris Duvall at No. 22 and Akron winger Eric Stevenson at No. 34 – head coach Mike Petke responded to the reports that have soon-to-be 34-year-old Xavi making the jump to MLS after the upcoming World Cup.
"You never know with Red Bull," Petke said. "If we feel it's the right fit in the field and Red Bull feel it's the right fit in the marketing sense, then anything can happen.
"As of now, I don't think we're going to be announcing in the next week that we're going to be signing Xavi or anybody. But it's a player that's coming up on a contract soon. You never know."
Xavi's contract actually expires in June 2016 after he extended his deal with Barcelona in January. And he shot down the rumors himself on Thursday when he told sports daily El Mundo Deportivo he has had no contact with the Red Bulls nor star Designated Player Thierry Henry, a former Barça teammate, and has no interest in another club.
He said the only other club he’s considered leaving for was Bayern Munich back in 2008.
"Nobody has proposed anything else to me,” he said in the article. “About New York, the only thing I know is that it's very cold there right now. Henry has not called me nor have I spoken with him. I don't have his phone number."
RBNY sporting director Andy Roxburgh acknowledged the length of Xavi's deal, but didn't entirely rule out a move for "one of his favorite players over the last 20 years."
"To have a player like him on your team would be sent from heaven," Roxburgh said. "But all I'm going to say to you is he's signed up with Barcelona through what, 2016? So he's somebody else's player. There's nothing for us to talk about at this moment in time.
"But if you asked me would I like to have Xavi? Of course. That's another discussion. He'd be phenomenal for the league and phenomenal for us. But in the short term, I can't imagine such a thing happening."
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But there could be one arrival from Spain: Córdoba center back Armando Lozano, who Spanish press claim has received a contract offer from RBNY. Roxburgh acknowledged "there are discussions going on" with Lozano as RBNY seek a replacement for the departed Markus Holgersson.
According to Roxburgh, the name of the game for RBNY this offseason has been stability and keeping turnover to a minimum. In addition to the two SuperDraft pick-ups in Rounds 1 and 2 – Rounds 3 and 4 come on Jan. 21 – he indicated there could be an upcoming Homegrown signing.
But he didn't rule out a major move later in the season – "there could be some opportunities in the summer," he said – perhaps after the World Cup, when world stars sometimes move in the aftermath of the tournament. Players like Xavi.
"If we'd ever sign him, I'd just retire. It'd be great," Roxburgh said. "I'd just come and watch him because he's just phenomenal."