The Daily Mail reports that Richard Eckersley is training with La Liga outfit Elche, in the hope of completing a "dream move to Spain".
"Dream move" might be overselling the situation: Eckersley started his career at Manchester United, so he may not to be too starry-eyed at the prospect of moving to a club currently focused on consolidating its place in La Liga, after ending a 24-year absence from Spain's top division in 2013-14.
Presently, however, Elche is doing alright: 14th place in the 20-team table, six points clear of the relegation zone, and what looks like a very good shot at renewing its top-flight status for another season.
Eckersley endured a torrid 2014 for the New York Red Bulls, producing one of the worst starts by a new signing for the club in recent memory. The defender conceded a penalty on his debut, and followed that with another three games later. By the fifth game of the season, he'd lost his starting spot.
He appeared to be a model professional in his time with RBNY: no great complaint about being dropped, and he took the chance afforded by the team's CONCACAF Champions League games to demonstrate he was not pathologically inclined to give up PKs. (In fairness, the rate at which penalties were called in the early stages of the 2014 MLS season was extraordinary: RBNY conceded three in the first four games of the year. But two of those were on Eckersley, and neither was controversial.)
He returned to the starting lineup in October, after the Red Bulls' back line was eviscerated by LA Galaxy, and contributed to a run of three wins in four games that secured RBNY's place in the playoffs. And he was Mike Petke's preferred starter at right back for the post-season run to the Eastern Conference finals that followed.
But those performances were not sufficient to win him a contract with RBNY, or anywhere in MLS, for this season. It would appear he has at least found a place to train until the European summer brings the chance to negotiate with teams looking to re-tool for a new campaign.
Good luck, Mr. Eckersley. Thanks for your help last year. The very best of luck in finding a new team.