BY DAVE MARTINEZ
HARRISON, N.J.– The summer transfer window is traditionally a busy time for the New York Red Bulls. This year won’t be any different.
Some familiar names continue to be linked with the team while others are beginning to be thrown into the mix as well. Former FC Barcelona fullback Eric Abidal has joined perennial Red Bull prospect Kaka in this year’s pool of potential Designated Players.
For his part, Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh has all but eliminated Abidal from the equation – and offered little hope for Kaka as well.
“As you know, the rumor factory runs wild at this time,” he told reporters after Thursday’s practic. “There’s a lot of names getting thrown out. Sometimes agents will say ‘I’ve spoken to the club’ and are simply fetching. In this case. I haven’t spoken to Eric Abidal.
“There are many others at that level mentioned,” he continued. “(Kaka) is a name that has been suggested to us. Right now, we don’t know – in fact, I don’t even know if Kaka knows – what he is doing next. Whether he is going to be in Real, whether he is moving to another club in Europe, whether he is going to be available – nobody knows the answer to that at this stage.
“At this moment in time, it’s not something you’d say ‘well let’s pursue that – lets go and talk to him,’” he continued. “This is certainly another name that kind of sits out in space that might at some point come more into focus.”
While Abidal and Kaka may not be in the team’s short term plans, that does not mean there aren’t prospects the Red Bulls have their eyes on.
“I am bombarded everyday by names,” Roxburgh joked. “I think every agent in the world now has my number!
“Of course, we will look at them all and assess them, check all the players who are free to move right now,” he explained. “We’ve got some names we are mulling over. In general – not necessarily DPs.”
While centerback may have been a target at the start of the season, the Red Bulls have closed the door on a defender thanks to the stellar play of Jamison Olave and Markus Holgersson. According to Roxburgh, the team is now concentrating on adding a different “dynamic” to the team – whether that player be a DP or not.
“We are trying to assess who is appropriate for us,” he explained. “We won’t do it just for the sake of doing it.”
And if that dynamic were to come in the form of a Designated Player, he won’t be alone in making that decision.
“It has to be somebody that was good business and appropriate for this team and of course, when looking at that, that is something I would discuss with the owner,” Roxburgh revealed. “Clearly, when it comes to a DP, that is a different thing from signing or trading for someone with a name in MLS. That discussion will take place shortly.
“I do have a whole lot of possibilities of names under the DP level and also a few that could possibly be DPs but that is a discussion with the owner.
When asked about the criteria he sought for his team, Roxburgh kept his options open.
“The idea is, we are totally open-minded,” he explained. “Our guys have been doing well in various positions. The team right now is on a good run and we picked up, we had a bumpy start, the schedule wasn’t great – you have to recognize that – with a lot of new people. It took a while to settle down but now we’ve been on a run, we are aware of the things we have to work on and we are aware of things that will help us to go further and develop. We are certainly looking at that.
“We are entirely open minded about it,” he continued. “Mainly to give depth to the team. Maybe we can add something more – another dynamic, another element to it. We will look at that. At this stage, it is very much an open book for us.
“What I’ve said to you here is I have brought into my focus a few names that I think can help this team and might be available to us,” he concluded. “There is a second band further out in the stratosphere that are interesting, but at this stage, not available – so far as we know.
“All we do is keep our eye and monitor the situation – like you.”