Photo credit: Martin Holterhuset of rb.no
BY DAVE MARTINEZ
Just when you thought the Luke Rodgers saga was over, it has clearly only begun. Norwegian publication Aftenposten reports that the diminutive English striker has signed on with Tippeligaen side Lillestrom SK through the 2012 season.
Lillestrom Director of Football Torgeir Bjarmann acquired Rodgers thanks to a tip from former Lillestrom player and current New York Red Bulls General Manager, Erik Soler.
“We have searched around to bring in a replacement,” Bjarmann told Aftenposten. “After some searching, it turned out that Luke Rodgers was available. Erik Soler told us about him, and so it has gone very fast. Hopefully everything is in order so that he may be available on Sunday, but it remains to be seen.”
His debut could come against Rosenberg tomorrow.
A report surfaced contradicting the termination of Rodgers' contract with the Red Bulls. Contrary to the club's statement on the situation, Soler told the New York Post that Rodgers was transferred to the Norwegian club. In a press conference prior to today's match, Soler once again reiterated the club's stance – Rodgers contract with the team was terminated, and the team would continue to pursue the striker as he works on acquiring his visa.
""We didn't transfer him. We terminated his contract and he went to a club of his free will," he said.
"We, of course, are not very happy but we respect the fact that there is a system in place that makes decisions," Soler expressed to the gathered press. "However, we are not giving up so we'll continue to try but it was very important for everybody, especially for Luke of course, to play some soccer now. His last game was in November, so we were very happy to, on the last day of the transfer window in Scandinavia, to get him a club so he can play, and then we will see if we are able to, which we hope, to bring him back to the U.S. at a later date."
Soler revealed to SBI yesterday that New York would be in the market for one or two players to replenish the team prior to the April 15th transfer deadline. The team will looking looking both in the domestic and international markets for a replacement. The Red Bulls will have the ability to maneuver thanks to a surplus of roster spots and cap space.
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