Unlike the previous Designated Player signing of Thierry Henry which was leaked months prior, the Red Bulls front office is playing this one close to the chest. Only recently has there been any indication about who it could be. At the beginning of the season there were many names tossed around as probable signings.
Raul Blanco was long rumored to be joining the team in the summer then talks fizzled out. His name has been mentioned recently but at the moment, European players are mentioning the MLS as an option as a way to get more money out of their current clubs. He's a lifetime Madrid player and I don't think he ever leaves that team.
Next rumored signing was Alessandro Del Piero. This had some backing to it with Juventus coming in to play a friendly. It was thought that it was going to be Del Piero's last game with his Italian club and a way to meet his new team mates.
Another name that has been mentioned is Luke Rodgers of Notts County F.C. He's a 28 year old striker who has showed flashes of brilliance playing in England's League One. He has a bit of history with Hans Backe, who coached Rodgers in 2009. Talks have slowed as Luke has been unable to gain a Visa to actually speak with the team. A major positive is his age. It's rare for DPs to enter the league in their athletic primes and he could be a difference maker. He is unproven against top tier competition as League One is not the same level of talent as Premiership.
The two most likely signings are discussed after the jump...
Fredrik Ljundberg has been a name that's been recently tossed around as a strong possibility. He's not happy with Seattle and would fulfill a legitimate roster need. The current Red Bull midfield is lacking with Joel Lindpere being the most reliable on the current roster. The addition of Ljundberg would add a real play maker to set up Thierry Henry and Juan Pablo Angel. If you saw the game at Columbus on Saturday, you know the need for a play maker. The Red Bulls midfield was awful and it showed in the statistics. SBnation's Zak Woods of WatchKalibRun.comwas on hand and left a comment saying it was like a practice.
The name that has been mentioned most is Rafael Marquez. He currently is still listed as a member of Barcelona F.C. which coincidentally is Thierry Henry's former club. He's also the captain of the Mexican National Team. There has been some controversy among Red Bulls supporters as they don't want to have to root for a player that they've spent years hating during international games. There has been negotiations but they've currently hit a snag with Barcelona wanting $9million for a transfer fee. MLS teams usually do not pay this fee so the timeline of being available has been pushed back.
The best bet is that Rafael Marquez joins the team. He's a center back but could move to midfield depending on team need.