Reporting for Goal.com and Sporting News, Ives Galarcep provides an update on the New York Red Bulls' ongoing efforts to sign its 2017 crop of Homegrown players. Foremost among that cohort, perhaps, is Akron midfielder Adam Najem. A few weeks back, Galarcep reported RBNY was trying to trade away Najem's Homegrown rights. Now, he suggests, the situation has deteriorated further into a game of chicken between player and club.
Per Galarcep, the Red Bulls hold Najem's rights because they made him an offer in 2015. An offer Najem declined. The player looked into options in Europe, but ultimately returned to Akron for his senior year. Now his route to MLS is controlled by RBNY.
The Red Bulls had not made a renewed offer to Najem as of last week, but had left the door open for him to sign his original offer.
It doesn't sound like the best way to start a fruitful professional relationship: take the deal you didn't want a year ago, or sidestep MLS. And Galarcep reports the two sides of the negotiation are not close to an agreement.
The Red Bulls want to sign Najem and have him join the squad for preseason, but as of last week, the sides appeared far apart on the size of a deal.
The Red Bulls do have David Najem, Adam's older brother, under contract with NYRB II for 2017 - a move that was interpreted as seeking to engineer a family reunion under the Red Bulls' banner. The younger Najem is a player once confidently described by Top Drawer Soccer's Will Parchman as the #1 pick in the 2017 MLS Draft if RBNY were foolhardy enough to let him slip into it. It would appear he is betting he has a market value considerably greater than the Red Bulls' estimation, and maybe he is right to do so: RBNY did just free up not insignificant payroll with the trade of club captain Dax McCarty.
In the same report, Galarcep advises the Red Bulls "are planning on signing" goalkeeper Evan Louro and defender Andrew Lombard to Homegrown deals. Louro featured in Galarcep's last report on RBNY's Homegrown plans; Lombard - who is a player some believe has already signed with the Red Bulls - appears to have supplanted Marcello Borges in this particular thread.
Players report for MLS preseason on January 23. We won't know every player RBNY wants to or will sign by then, but at the very least the squad of invited players should provide further clues as to the club's intentions, absent any official announcements on new recruits.