BY DAVE MARTINEZ
Things certainly change quickly in the world of the New York Red Bulls.
Earlier this week, Head Coach Hans Backe told gathered reporters about the team’s “ongoing” discussions with a potential Designated Player. By week’s end, General Manager Erik Soler was busy putting the brakes on any such talk.
“Hans is very optimistic at times,” Soler said. “That's his job. We are looking and we are figuring out at what to do and how to do it, options. But as I said all the time, it could happen now, it could also happen after the season, so we’ll see. I would downgrade the fact that we’re close to anything. We’re not.
“We have a very long list of people who’d like to come,” he continued, “but if it is doable, and if it is right for the team, fits the way we play, the brand and everything – that's another story. We’re still working to do the right thing. It’s always a big step to take, and we have to make sure it works out.”
The Red Bulls search for a playmaker will almost assuredly be focused on an attacking midfielder after Friday's trade that for French forward Sebastien LeToux from Vancouver.
One piece of information that Soler did offer that Backe was coy about is the type of signing the team appears to be pursuing. “With the situation we have right now with Teemu (Tainio) looking really good, with Rafa (Marquez) fully back, with Dax (McCarty) playing as good as he does – I think the only option right now is in the ballpark of a classical No. 10 or an attacker,” he stated. “I don’t mention names but it is someone who can play in the offensive part and be part of scoring goals one way or another.”
While he tried to slow the chatter surrounding a third DP, Soler openly admitted that the team’s quest is not over for their former striker, Luke Rodgers. In fact, the drama may extend well past the summer transfer window, which may have helped precipitate the team's trade for LeToux.
“As I said earlier, we've done our paperwork; it's somewhere in the paper mill somewhere. We don’t know exactly where it is so until we get the clear feedback, I can only repeat myself.
“It could be August first or later – it wouldn't matter with him.”
Though he stressed patience with Rodgers, he was quick to point out that New York would not simply wait for him to be made available.
“We are evaluating that situation all the time of course because we know there are a lot of other optional opportunities would close down,” he said. “It's something we would have to within the next week or something think about seriously how long we can wait.”
What should not be assumed at this point is that the Red Bulls will give up on Rodgers now that LeToux is in the fold. According to Soler, the team has the money for both.
“Money wise, we are looking good, so we could potentially do someone else and add Luke if it was an option.
“We can't (pass on other options) because as I've said we have no clue about what the answer will be.”