The New York Red Bulls are in the middle of a playoff race, and could still conceivably win an MLS Cup title, but that isn't stopping the people now running the Red Bulls from making plans for major off-season changes.
After disposing of former general manager and sporting director Erik Soler earlier this week, the Red Bulls are already lining up a replacement for head coach Hans Backe, and while several names have already surfaced as alleged targets, sources tell SBI that one coach has emerged as a front-runner to lead the Red Bulls in 2013.
That man is Gary McAllister.
The 47-year-old former Scotland international is a close confidant of Gerard Houllier, the man now running the soccer side of things for the Red Bulls (and Red Bull's global soccer operations) and sources with knowledge of the club's strategy tell SBI that Houllier is strongly considering bringing in McAllister as the team's new head coach once the 2012 season ends.
McAllister spent two seasons playing at Liverpool under Houllier, and the two forged a friendship that eventually led to McAllister serving as Houllier's assistant manager during Houllier's stint with Aston Villa during the 2010-2011 season. A former manager at Coventry City and Leeds, McAllister temporarily took over as Villa manager late in the 2010/2011 season when Houllier became ill, but left the club when Alex McLeish was hired as Aston Villa's new manager in the summer of 2011. That was McAllister's last coaching job.
Backe is wrapping up his third season as Red Bulls head coach, the longest stint he has spent at one job since a four-year run as head coach of FC Copenhagen from 2001 to 2005. The departure of Soler, and Houllier's takeover of soccer operations should seal Backe's fate, though there is the possibility that he keeps his job if he leads the Red Bulls to a championship.
Barring a title run, Backe's days with the Red Bulls look numbered and it looks as though the Red Bulls will be turning to another European coach to take the reins.
What do you think of this development? Like the idea of McAllister being the new Red Bulls coach? Worried about another coach with no MLS experience taking over in New York?
Share your thoughts below.