By FRANCO PANIZO
LAUDERHILL, Fla. — The conversations with Mix Diskerud began a little over a month ago, but New York City FC has had its eyes on him for much longer.
Diskerud became the latest member of NYCFC on Tuesday, signing a deal that gives the expansion MLS club a player it has thought about signing since early 2014. NYCFC’s brass knew back then that Diskerud’s contract with Norwegian club Rosenborg BK expired this winter, and was hopeful of landing the 24-year-old midfielder who had twice previously been linked with a move to MLS.
NYCFC got its man, adding a U.S. Men’s National Team player to its roster, and did so without using a Designate Player slot.
“I think we have to go about this with the plan that the salary cap structure is going to be the same as it is now, maybe a moderate increase,” NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis said, referring to the upcoming collective bargaining agreement, “so we have allocation money and I think we’ll be using that for him.”
Kreis was visibly happy while talking to media about Diskerud during the final day of the MLS Combine on Tuesday, and with good reason.
In Diskerud, NYCFC is getting a seasoned player whose role with the U.S. has been increasing in recent months and who Kreis thinks fits perfectly with the club. More importantly perhaps is the fact that Diskerud is versatile enough to play in several spots in the midfield, which should help make up for Designated Player Frank Lampard’s absence during the first half of the MLS season.
Kreis said Diskerud is equally pleased with the move. Born in Norway, Diskerud has long had an affinity for living in the United States. He previously had talks with the Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew to make a move stateside, but neither club was able to finalize a deal.
“I think he’s really excited and pleased,” said Kreis. “I think he and I and everybody involved are very happy people today. In my chats with him, he has mentioned that he really, really likes the idea of being part of New York City FC and living in New York.”
As far as adding a third Designated Player goes, Kreis said the club still intends to do so but that it might not happen until later in the year. NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna had said back in November that the club felt “comfortable and confident” that they’d have a third DP by their first game, but that apparently is no longer the case.
“I don’t know that we’ve ever said we expected to have that by the start of the season,” said Kreis. “I think we’ve always been clear that we will have three DPs, but the timing of it has never been exact. I think there is one thing that we have been clear on and we continue to be clear on, that we’re not going to add any player, regular player or Designated Player, because we’re against some timeline.
“I think that would be a faulty decision. We’re going to add the right player and the right third DP.”