With the secondary —New York City FC have confirmed that Andrea Pirlo will be joining the team on a 2.5 year contract, and the Galaxy have been hotly pursuing Mexican national Giovani Dos Santos—but the New York Red Bulls have been tight lipped about their transfer plans.open, several big deals appear done
As the team stands now the Red Bulls have some holes. Firstly the full backs could use a boost. Breakout performances from Kemar Lawrence and Matt Miazga have kept the back line afloat over the first 3 months of the season, but with the injury of Chris Duvall and a revolving door of players, the team might look outside the organization for an anchor player. Some have speculated that these two players might be on the way out during the window, as both have shown natural abilities that are sought after in the top European leagues. Their is a new philosophy in Harrison of team building and development of young talent, so one would hope that these rumors are unfounded. To get these raw players to the next level look for the Red Bulls to bring in a veteran presence with international and top league credibility to help craft them to their full potential.
The midfield seems set—minus some occasional lapse in form for new signings Sacha Klejstan and Felipe Martins. An upgrade here is possible but another veteran presence might undermine the ouvre which has seemed to be clicking all season.
The offense, much like the defense, could use a seasoned hand. Bradley Wright-Phillips has seen his goal scoring take a hit without another danger man up front to draw defenders and open space in the way Thierry Henry did. The 19 year old Cameroonian, Anatole Abang, has done a great job on offense for the team but is an unpolished product. The franchise has been spoiled with big names up front in years past so a move here might seem to fit the bill, and give the team the offensive boost they need.
New Sporting Director Ali Curtis has promised that money would not be a factor in making an acquisition, but who the team might go out and get is difficult to assess. Curtis has made it clear he is willing to spend on a player that will help the team, but is looking for more than just a big name player looking to get on the MLS former star retirement plan.
The new regime has trumpeted a philosophy built on player and team development, which complicates things, but let’s take a look at some available targets—purely speculative—that could slot nicely into the team…
1) Glen Johnson
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
English international defender Glen Johnson was released at the end of 2014/15 season by Liverpool after seeing his playing time dwindle. Johnson is exactly the kind of player the team should be pursuing. He has experience in both the Champions League as well as a long career with the English national team and could help bring young raw defenders like and Kemar Lawrence—both of whom could benefit from a veteran presence at the back—to the next level. This one ranks a little less likely on the probability scale as the defender has also been in discussions to return to West Ham where he stared his career.
Johnson would be a huge get for MLS but could be a huge difference maker at the back, and is the biggest name available as a free agent.
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Nenê—famed Brazilian winger—has played all over Europe including PSG, Monaco, Celta, Espanyol, and most recently West Ham and is now a free agent. He is known as a set-piece specialist, and a crosser. His presence might be just what Wright-Phillips needs to start raking in goals again. He is 5 years removed from leading Lique 1 in goals, and has totaled 32 assists in high-level soccer.
Nenê is a solid offensive player but doesn't quite have the work rate Jesse Marsch is demanding of his players. Also now approaching his 34th birthday the Brazilian might just be a little too far over the hill to catch Curtis' eye.
3) Abou Diaby
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
The 29-year-old French midfielder was released this year by Arsenal after nearly 10 years of service. The 6’4" Diabi is coming off a season where he saw his playing time all but evaporate with the Gunners. He is known most for his work-rate and versatility on the field, with admirers having called him a true box-to-box player.
Diaby is a perennial substitute in the EPL but his experience in high-level football, as well as his natural abilities could make him a good fit in MLS. The Red Bulls have a glut of options at mid-field but with his size, experience, and work-rate he could be a nice addition to the team.
4) Ron Vlaar
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ron Vlaar brings the experience of playing in both an FA Cup final as well as Aston Villa, and is a true leader at the back. At age 30, Vlaar has a few good years left in him and could be signed at a good price.Semi-Final with the Netherlands. Much like Glen Johnson, his top level experience could help develop some of the Red Bull’s younger defenders while giving them a legitimate anchor at the back. Vlaar was the captain at
5) Charlton Cole
(Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
After a release from West Ham English striker Charlton Cole is available as a free agent and has been exploring the prospect of going abroad. Cole is a relatively cheap option to bolster the RB attack, and could potentially be brought on as a non-dp. Cole has outstanding physical abilities that could make him wholly viable in MLS as a target forward. Cole didn’t fit into West Ham’s plans moving forward and was getting less and less of a role in their attack formation so it’s hard to tell how deep in decline the 31 year olds skills might be.