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Red Bulls talks for Kandji back on (club could add three players by Monday)

With the MLS roster freeze deadline set for Monday at 5pm, the New York Red Bulls stand poised to add as many as three new players and Atlanta Silverbacks striker Mac Kandji could be one of them.

Red Bulls sporting director Jeff Agoos revealed on Friday that the team is close to completing a deal for one player and is in discussions to add between one and two more. He would not reveal the identity of any of the players, but sources with knowledge of the discussions have informed SBI that talks between the Red Bulls and Atlanta Silverbacks regarding forward Mac Kandji have resumed. According to one source, the talks went from dead to suddenly back on again last week.

Sources told SBI two weeks ago that MLS originally blocked the Red Bulls from making its $200,000 transfer off to Atlanta for Kandji, a report MLS officials strongly denied at the time. According to a source close to the negotiations, the transfer discussions between New York and Atlanta went from no longer taking place to actively taking place the week after the SBI report.

The discussions have moved along slowly but Monday’s deadline is forcing both sides to work quickly to come to a resolution. The Red Bulls have the $200,000 ransfer fee Atlanta is seeking, but must still come to terms with Kandji on a contract and other terms. The Red Bulls and Silverbacks are close in their negotiations over a transfer agreement, and Kandji has already begun preliminary contract discussions with the Red Bulls, but the deal is still not close to being completed with just 76 hours to go before the MLS transaction deadline.

Sources have also told SBI that the Red Bulls have offered a major allocation to the Colorado Rapids for forward Omar Cummings, but the offer has been turned down.

The Red Bulls are expected to announce a player signing later today, but details have yet to be revealed on who the player is.

The Red Bulls cleared room on their roster by trading Hunter Freeman on Friday, but would likely have to waive a player to make room for three.

What player or players would you like to see the Red Bulls acquire? Would you rather have Kandji or Cummings? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I would say Mbuta. He’s really doing well, checkout his stats. Kandji is a pretty good player as well, but are the Red bulls ready to pay this kind of cash???? I hope it’s Mathew Mbuta they sign.

  2. Count me as somneone who takes Ives original story on MLS blocking the Kandji deal as credible and thinks that reviving the Kandji talks are, at least, in part a reaction to Ives story, if not 100 percent behind it.

    I also wouldn’t put it past the league to change their minds and let Red Bull pay the 200K for Kandji just to try and make our boy Ives look bad.

    Yes, I think MLS is that petty.

  3. Ives,

    As you’re letting the public decide whether you publishing the story about the failed negotiations enabled or precipitated the resumption of talks, I’ll cast my vote in the “Yes” column. If such is the case, “Well done!”

    This really is an intriguing situation.

    Thanks so much for following up on it and relaying what you’ve found out to us.

  4. Okay folks, here is what I can say regarding the situation:

    MLS insists to me that it never blocked the Kandji bid and the league has been very forthcoming about details of the situation. What I will say is that my sources told me the league had gotten in the way of the Kandji talks, causing it to die on the vine. Was this a misperception, or worse, a blatant fabrication on the part of multiple sources of mine? That is what the league suggests.

    What I do know from multiple sources, including one different source from my original story, is that the Kandji talks were dead before my story came out and were revived a few days after my story came out. That could just be a complete coincidence, or it could not be. I’ll let the public decide that one.

    I have heard from a few people that the unavailability of one of Atlanta’s owners delayed talks, but that took place after my story. So the big question for those wondering about this situation is this: Why did the Kandji talks stall two weeks ago?

    Ultimately, it looks now as if MLS and the Red Bulls are doing everything they can to make a Kandji deal happen, and there has been good progress made, which is good news for the Red Bulls.

  5. Wow. A number of people here need to calm down. Count to 10 or something. The OP wasn’t questioning Ives’ reporting or his honesty; that is abundantly clear. He simply wanted to know how the present story jived with the previous report; clearly the MLS execs changed their minds. The OP wanted to know if Ives knew why.

  6. I would rather have Oduro than Cummings. Maybe Dallas doesn’t want to deal Oduro though. I can’t imagine Oduro is happy now that he’s back to being a sub (even if he is often first off the bench).

  7. So it looks like fans may in fact be able to influence the league front office if enough write in and complain about some of the mickey mouse stuff that goes on. Maybe. We’ll have to test this again the next time an issue arises.

    It’s hard to point to Ives’ article as the reason negotiations came back. It may have been that NY was comfortable enough in it’s forwards following the Houston game and then lost some confidence in the other forwards and decided they did indeed want Kandji again. If I recall correctly, that was also the week that Magee had an issue and didn’t play against Chicago, where our offense was pretty weak. Maybe some aspect of that or concern that we would be weak offensively contributed to starting negotiations again.

    In either case, I’m happy to see they’re back on and I expect Kandji to be a NY player by next Monday.

  8. My feeling has always been that it is hard to discern tone in an email or letter. I think people are too easy to pile on Ives and pile on other posters. Chillax people!!!!

  9. Focus people. Kandji is a good complimentary piece that can add depth to the RedBulls. I suspect any other player they may aquire would only be a supplemental pickup.

  10. if picked up i hope he succeeds, but RBNJ still fail… yes?? 😀

    either way, i wouldnt be putting all your eggs on this transfer… plenty of players succeed in other leagues yet fail here… such is the way of things….

  11. Ives,

    I went back and re-read your original post on the Kandji situation and note that you (and your source(s)) are quite clear in describing MLS as having objected to establishing a precedent when objecting to the $200,000 transfer fee.

    In response, we got swift denials from both the league office and the Red Bulls, which responses seemed incredibly similar in thier wording.

    Because of the similarity of the responses, I got the feeling that even though we might have been witnessing a real CYA moment, that the two parties would have been careful not to issue statements that were flat-out lies. This, and the fact that Red Bulls and Kandji have not worked out contract details even as it looks as though the league will let the transfer go through now, leads me to the following question:

    Is it possible that the league did not, in fact, object to the transfer fee (as they and Red Bulls have stated), but rather objected to Kandji effectively bypassing the draft and thus may have stipulated that he must only be offered a developmental contract, thus effectively scuttling the original deal without outright blocking it?

    I’m not being flippant with this question, nor am I questioning your veracity, nor that of your sources; I’m just trying to make sense of a confusing situation.

    I appreciate your good work on behalf of all us soccer nuts.

    Thank you.

    P.S. On reviewing this post, I can see how this post might make me look like an apologist for MLS HQ. I’m not. I’m just intrigued by these developments.

  12. Forget about expiring DP slots and all that… rules change in this league hourly… and as much as the league seems to bend the rules AGAINST NYRB, they will do whatever they need to do if an Henry type was really available.

  13. I hope the Kandji deal goes through. This is the kind of move that needs to be more common in US soccer.

    I would also hope that the Bulls aren’t going to spend a major allocation on someone who has only scored six goals in two years in MLS and is a 26 year old striker.

    They’ve made a lot of good moves lately. I hope they keep it up.

  14. So, with Freeman gone, there are two spots open right?

    Guess that means definitely 2 signings.

    Who might be the third to go? Any guesses?


  15. Scott M – really? IF, huge huge if, a player even near Henry’s caliber were coming to NYRB it’s not going to be affected by anyone on that roster. They’re all expendable – even Angel imo – if Henry wanted to sign. Not only would he be a better player, but as we’ve seen with the Beckham circus, he’d make NYRB (and MLS as a whole) exponentially more profitable and valuable.

  16. Word I get is that the league, at least on the surface, has stepped aside, although something seems to be slowing the deal down now. It sounds like both sides (Red Bulls and Atlanta) are ready to pull the trigger but something is holding it up. I’ll let others decide what that is.

  17. EssEff,

    There’s nothing wrong with showing a modicum of respect for the person who created and runs this great site. This is my favorite soccer blog and, personally, I’d rather Ives not ditch the site b/c he got fed up with a constant tide of snide remarks flowing his way. You talk about respectful discourse like it’s something that should be mocked.

    Sorry Ives, but I re-read the post and still don’t understand. Did the league back down on their stance or was some other arrangement made?

  18. Nic D – I understand you being “glum” but I think if Henry was to come to NY, it would either this winter, or Summer ’09. I could be mistaken, but I thought NYRB had to use their second DP slot by the end of ’09, which means they wouldn’t be able to keep Angel and sign Henry after NEXT season. Plus, with RBArena slated to open next summer/fall, wouldn’t make sense to already have Henry under contract?

    All I was questioning, was the potential of a “logjam” up front IF Kandji and IF Henry were under contract. Wishful thinking, I know, but it’s something to think about none the less.

  19. Ives,

    Can we assume that this player signing today is just to add some cover? Something of a developmental caliber?

    How likely is it that Kandji will be able to get signed by 5:00pm Monday?

  20. A.S., don’t apologize. You asked a legit question of a journalist. I’m sure Ives would not want to be told not to ask a question of someone. Some of you guys here think Ives is in an Ivory Tower or something. Good God. The guy is not infallible.

    “Your tone sucks”. Dannyc58, are you going to send him to bed without dinner or something? Seriously.

    AS was starting a good discussion. That’s what this place is all about.

  21. No worries AS, I didn’t take your original post any way. It was fair at first since my very first version of this post only had the info on the talks and not the background and all the new details.

  22. Henry ain’t gonna come til winter 09! If at all!

    Sorry to be glum! Truth is, until RB Arena is open and we have a star to fill it, he will not be in a RB shirt.

  23. Ives,

    How would a *potential* signing of Kanji effect a *potential* DP signing of Henry in the winter? I think adding Kanji would be great this year, but I don’t think he makes NYRB an instant contender. Henry, on the other hand, does just that. If there is any truth to the strong Henry rumors, do we really want to jeopordize it?

  24. AS – looked like an un-malicious post to me, and I have been very curious to hear more details about what happened behind the scenes, even if Ives can’t rip MLS and damage sources there.

  25. Will the allocation expire at the end of the season? If so, then trading it isn’t a bad idea, but I’d think we could get a better player than Cummings. Admittedly I’ve only seen him play 2-3 times, but he isn’t lighting up the scoring charts.

    And RB has plenty of money, so why not pony up for Kandji. If the guy is decent, you’ll probably make it back in a year or two when he transfers overseas.

  26. kpugs: again, my comment did NOT state – and I am NOT implying – that the original story was inaccurate. Obviously circumstances can change over time – that’s why I asked if the MLS bigwigs changed their mind about the matter. I just asked the question about why the change!

    I reread the comment and I am having trouble figuring out why people think I was impugning Ives… I wasn’t.

  27. A.S.,

    Fair enough. Apologize, but when you start with “Um, so Ives” it sounds sarcastic.

    Isn’t it entirely possible that the MLS got exposed, and changed their tune? Ives stuck by his sources (how many times has Ives broken stories, my trust is with him).

    I don’t want to sound like an Ives Fanboy, but lets just say Ives has more integrity than MLS HQ if you ask me.

  28. Dannyc58: I didn’t mean anything by my tone. I just thought it odd that Ives caused a big stir (here, at least) by his original report, stood by the original report after it was denied, and then omitted to say anything about it here. There’s nothing negative about Ives implied – I am just wondering why the change from 2 weeks ago!

  29. Omar Cummings hasn’t exactly lit up the league, but at this point I just want them to be able to put a guy on the pitch that will greatly reduce the work rate of Angel and enable him to focus more on putting the ball in the back of the net. If Cummings can do that, fine. IF someone else can, that’s fine too.

    A.S., if you knew anything about this league you’d know that the story was almost definitely accurate and that the MLS brass are morons, who do have the ability to lean on teams in terms of news. I mean, the league has been here for 13 years and this crap happens ALL THE TIME, is now really the time to question a journo who has repeatedly broken ACCURATE stories? And if you don’t know what breaking news is, it’s when you are the first person to report it.

  30. AS-

    I would assume that the MLS HQ realized they made a mistake, looked like minor league jackasses and allowed it to go through

  31. Please let this be true! I definitely want Kandji, this guy can really play! His speed/technical ability would be a wonderful complement to the pure finishing class of Angel! If this happens, it will bring more excitement to a team that really needs it!

  32. Um, so Ives, the obvious question is: what happened about your earlier report that MLS HQ was blocking them from getting Kandji?

    The report was denied, but at the time you stood by the story. Did MLS HQ change its mind?


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