The most eye-catching rumor of the New York Red Bulls’ off-season to date is the suggestion that the team is ready to throw down $11 million to bring Huracan forward Ignacio Pussetto to Harrison in the summer transfer window.
Added to the deal Huracan already announced - a reported $6.25 million deal to bring Alejandro “Kaku” Romero to RBNY - and it might appear the Red Bulls’ era of thriftiness is over.
While the idea that the RalfBall Red Bulls are looking to throw down more than $17 million on transfer fees for two players (and there will be salaries to pay on top of that) is unexpected, it’s by no means impossible. Papa Red Bull has deep pockets; not the deepest in MLS, but surely deep enough to increase spending on RBNY dramatically without harming his other sporting and business interests. And $17 million isn’t a huge transfer spend by global standards, it’s just a huge transfer spend by the standards of most MLS clubs and the recent player acquisition strategy of the Red Bulls in particular.
Still, the deal for Kaku was real enough for Huracan to announce it was done - and the subsequent delay is caused by a dispute between the club and an agent over how the bounty from RBNY is split. Nor have the Red Bulls sought to quash a story that has largely played out in full view of the Argentine sports media. So it seems more or less a fact that RBNY is willing to part with $6.25 million for a player, if only the player’s club and business associates would agree to take it.
But $11 million for another player? From the same club that has struggled to close its side of the Kaku deal?
The player RBNY apparently believes to be worth nearly two Kakus, Ignacio Pussetto, appeared to confirm the rumor himself in an interview with the same outlet - Closs Continental - that broke the story.
#Huracan: Ignacio Pussetto habló en @ClossAM590 “Me enteré del interés de un equipo de la MLS. Tengo que hablar con mi representante. Estoy muy cómodo en el club”@RivelloRaul pic.twitter.com/xWwTaZGD39— Leonardo Ojeda (@ldojeda) January 17, 2018
So this is for real. Maybe.
The primary reaction of the rumor mill to the news of RBNY’s interest in Pussetto has been to revive stories of other clubs’ pursuit of the same player.
The Portuguese press insists that Benfica has eyes on Pussetto, and that a rival bid from Bologna may be forthcoming.
And the player has given hope to that rumor as well, telling A Bola:
Benfica would be a great challenge for me. I do not know Franco Cervi personally, but it would be an honor to play alongside him.
Meanwhile, in France, it is suggested AS Monaco might be tracking Pussetto.
But rewind to the Benfica rumor for a moment. The most recent iteration of the story is attributed to Argentine outlet TyC Sports, and it suggests Benfica and Bologna are expected to lodge bids of $5 million.
Next time RBNY calls Huracan, maybe it should find someone with a Portuguese or Italian accent to ask for a discount on the Pussetto deal.