Rafa Márquez's much-rumored move from the Red Bulls' midfield to the back line looks set to become a reality.
Márquez, who is with the club in Mexico for preseason training, spent much of last year in New York's midfield despite playing mostly as a center back for the Mexican national team and his previous club, FC Barcelona.
However, now it seems likely he will join US international Tim Ream in central defense for 2011.
“I said this to Erik [Solér, RBNY's sporting director], ‘This is his position,’” Backe told the media on a Friday conference call. “There’s no doubt.”
[inline_node:328046]Last year, when asked whether Márquez should play in central defense for New York, Backe insisted his Designated Player was a midfielder.
Now, having seen Márquez play central defense in a preseason friendly this past week, Backe praised the player for his communication and called his budding partnership with Ream "composed."
“He is absolutely a leader in the back four,” Backe said. “We’ll use him as a center back, definitely.”
Moving Márquez to the back line allows Backe and Solér to focus on adding another central midfielder. Backe admitted, however, that the search for a DP is “on hold” after they explored some possible names in December.
Backe also quashed recent rumors that linked to his club to current Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka and Bayern Munich’s powerful forward Miroslav Klose.
“It’s only rumors, absolutely only rumors,” Backe said.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer