COLUMBUS, Ohio – While Gregg Berhalter has said multiple times that there aren’t big changes coming to his roster in the coming weeks, on the first day of players reporting for physicals and team functions, the Columbus Crew sporting director and head coach made it clear that the team may not be done just yet.
After a club spokesman called reports linking Columbus to German defender Maik Franz “bogus” on Thursday, Berhalter was singing a different tune Friday, confirming the club's interest in the 32-year-old Bundesliga veteran.
“We've spoken to his agent,” Berhalter told MLSsoccer.com. “He's a guy that was identified by us, and he could be a potential target.”
Berhalter said Franz, nicknamed “Iron Maik,” could be a useful addition to a youthful squad.
“He's physical, he's good in the air, he's played in the Bundesliga for a long time, so he's a good, quality player,” Berhalter said.
After unloading large contracts of Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke and Gláuber and restructuring the deal of underperforming striker Jairo Arrieta, the Crew are sure to have plenty of cap room left after signing largely young, cheap talent in the offseason.
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With the space, Berhalter said he feels comfortable spending now or waiting for the summer transfer window to see what the team needs.
“Either way, we're fine,” he said. “We purposely planned it like this, that we don't have to do something right now. I think this roster is a decent roster as is, and we would only add sure starters right now.”
Berhalter said the team is “focusing” on Europe and South America in its scouting, but reiterated that the roster is nearly complete.
“We're pretty close,” he said. “We only have two senior roster spots available right now, so we're pretty close to getting it done.”