The BBC is reporting that English forward Luke Rodgers has been denied a work permit to re-unite with Hans Backe and join the New York Red Bulls.
The news puts a potential kink in the team’s plan to add the Notts County attacker, who played under the current New York boss for a stretch of the season last year before Backe joined the Red Bulls for the 2010 MLS campaign.
The New York Red Bulls said Thursday they were aware of the BBC report, and offered no additional comment on the situation.
Backe told reporters on Tuesday that he wanted the troubled English attacker, who has had several brushes with the law, largely because of the pace he’d bring to the front line. Backe confirmed with MLSSoccer.com that the hold-up in obtaining a work permit stemmed from Rodgers’ criminal record, but that he hoped to have the player signed and on the field for New York by mid-June at the latest.
The pursuit of Rodgers comes on the heels of New York signing Brian Nielsen, another player with a tarnished pedigree. A Danish youth international, Nielsen has been called an underachiever by the press in Denmark and his work ethic has been called into question.
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.