By FRANCO PANIZO
There have been plenty of rumors swirling about Tim Cahill’s future as a New York Red Bull, including a recent report suggesting a deal to move Cahill was already in place. Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch made it clear on Tuesday Cahill’s future with the team has yet to be resolved.
Cahill has been rumored in recent days to be nearing the completion of a move to United Arab Emirates club Al Wahda FC, but Marsch said via a conference call on Tuesday that is not the case.
“It really hasn’t changed much in the last two weeks,” Marsch said of Cahill’s status with the Red Bulls. “There’s been some dialogue in terms of potentially what the future could look like, but I don’t think there has been a concrete agreement as to what the future will hold. There’s been some good dialogue, Tim’s been nothing but professional, so I think everybody is open-minded and pursuing the best-case scenario for both parts.”
The 35-year-old midfielder is currently representing Australia at the Asian Cup, and has helped lead the Socceroos to the tournament final. A decision on the Designated Player’s future is expected after the tournament, but the Red Bulls could use a resolution as soon as possible in order to better prepare for the upcoming MLS campaign.
“It’s not just the finances. It’s the position and the player and everything,” said Marsch. “If this is the right place for him and he’s committed to be here, then certainly having him here in a way that makes us better would be important. If in the end the relationship doesn’t work out, then we use the ability and flexibility within our roster to go out and bring out what’s next.
“We’re handcuffed just a little bit, but, again, we’ll see what happens and then we’ll move forward.”
Here are some more Red Bulls notes from Tuesday:
MATT MIAZGA INJURY NOT BELIEVED TO BE SERIOUS
The Red Bulls were dealt a bit of bad news on Tuesday, as young centerback Matt Miazga suffered an injury while playing in a friendly for sister club RB Leipzig.
It appears, however, that it is not as serious as first feared.
“I haven’t been able to speak to their coach, but the reports are that he picked up just a little bit of a knock so I don’t think it’s anything serious,” said Marsch.
Miazga suffered the unspecified injury in the first half of an exhibition match for the 2. Bundesliga club, which is preparing to return from its winter break. The 19-year-old defender just joined Leipzig for a training stint following the conclusion of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s successful World Cup qualifying campaign, but many fans and observers were curious as to why given that the Red Bulls had just begun their preseason training in Orlando, Florida.
As it turns out, the decision to have Miazga head to Europe instead of the Sunshine State was predetermined and part of the Red Bull organization’s top soccer brass’ desired synergy between its clubs.
“He’s been on the radar of different people in the Red Bull organization for a number of years now,” said Marsch. “In fact, two-and-a-half years ago, he went to Leipzig and trained with them then when he was about 17 years-old. They’re familiar with him, they like him, they know him a little bit, they watched him and I think they just wanted to kind of give him the experience of being there and seeing a little bit more carefully up close.
“Obviously, with the relationship we have with the teams in Europe, there’s always the opportunity to figure out a way to share resources. Every indication I’ve had is that people in Europe are more committed to try and be a part of what we’re doing in New York more than ever in the past. That includes, for the first time ever, (bringing together) the three coaches of Leipzig, Salzburg and New York (in Qatar last week).”
THREE CENTERBACKS ADDED AS CLUB ROUNDS OUT ROSTER
The Red Bulls’ roster is not where Marsch and sporting director Ali Curtis want it to be before the start of the season, but it is pretty close.
Marsch revealed Tuesday the club had signed a trio of centerbacks in Ronaldo Zubar, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, and the returning Damien Perrinelle. The addition of the three defenders addresses a big area of need for New York, but more moves could come in the next few weeks as the Red Bulls attempt to finalize their squad.
“Once we add (Zubar), we’ll have rounded out our team really well” said Marsch, who added that the club is awaiting the arrival of the veteran’s visa. “The only other potential piece is how to compliment Bradley Wright-Phillips up top or at times he’s not available that we’re confident in how we supplement that role as well.”
While it remains to be seen how the Red Bulls add to their forward corps, the club is still looking at possible reinforcements for other positions. Marsch said Ibrahim Sekagya, Mike Grella, Tim Ward, and Red Bulls Under-18 team player Juan Sebastian Sanchez were all with the club in Orlando.
“We’re trying to really do a good job of starting to put a lot of a foundation for what the future is going to be while also rounding out our roster in a way we feel we can compete right away,” said Marsch.
Do you want to see Cahill return, or think is he as good as gone and the Red Bulls are just being coy? Still wishing Miazga were in preseason camp with the club? What’s your outlook on the roster as it stands now?
Share your thoughts below.