The summer transfer window is fast approaching, and the New York Red Bulls are as busy as ever trying to boost their roster for the remainder of the season and improve the club as a whole.
Red Bulls general manager Erik Solér touched on several of the topics surrounding the team recently, including the latest in their quest to re-sign Luke Rodgers, the possibility of a third Designated Player and the search for a new training facility.
Rodgers was one of the main topics of conversation, as he and his representatives had a meeting with the US consulate in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday morning to discuss the possibility of obtaining a work permit to return stateside. Solér said there was not much of an update, but that an answer could come in the next week to 10 days.
“These kind of issues, they are going to be decided somewhere else, so it’s impossible for us to say anything,” The Red Bulls GM told reporters after Thursday morning’s practice. “We are, of course, hopeful he gets his work permit, but until we get the result, it’s virtually hard for us to say how it’s going to work out.”
Solér was also asked about German midfielder Michael Ballack and Irish attacker Stephen Ireland, two players who have been heavily linked with New York for much of the MLS season. He would not comment on Ireland despite his current club, Aston Villa, stating they are open to hearing offers for him. But Solér did reveal that "Ballack is not a player for us."
So are the Red Bulls any closer to identifying who they want to sign as a third Designated Player? According to Solér, they are not.
“We have different options, [we are looking] at different things,” he said. “But we are not closing in on anybody specific at this moment.”
Something the Red Bulls are closing in on is a new training facility. The team currently trains at Montclair State University, but they want a facility that is better suited to house a professional soccer team.
“It’s not 100 percent certain in all aspects, but we are really closing in,” said Solér, who would not reveal the location. “It’s one step in the right direction for us. Then of course we have to finalize and see how it works out, but it’s definitely going to bring the club forward."
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.