Now What? New York City F.C.’s plans for David Villa

David Villa NYCFC

Spain’s most decorated goal scorer is now the first member of New York City F.C.

Now that his signing is out of the way, what’s next for David Villa?

The club has already begun a marketing blitz to promote his arrival. Everything from billboards in Times Square to ads on local websites have promoted the signing, with media worldwide more than happy to talk about the unlikely union.

Once the dust settles, however, it will be all about the soccer.

Despite the blockbuster signing, New York City F.C. will likely go through an extensive ‘getting to know you’ phase with Villa. That has already started on the executive level. Director of Football Claudio Reyna and the NYCFC brass have touted ‘multiple’ conversations about the project with the former Barcelona star. Both player and franchise have embraced an equal understanding of what it will mean to play football “The City Way,” making for a harmonious union.

Despite that fact, one key person has not had the chance to make Villa’s acquaintance; head coach Jason Kreis.

“Truth be told, Claudio and the rest of the staff for New York City F.C. have had the opportunity to sit down with David, from what I understand, quite extensively,” he said during the team’s press conference Monday afternoon. “Our schedules haven’t matched up quite yet, but I certainly have full trust and faith for Claudio to make the right decisions for this group.”

It is an odd departure for Kreis who has built a reputation as a hands-on participant in Real Salt Lake’s player-acquisition deals over the past several years. After all, this is a man who personally traveled to Argentina in his second year on the job to scout talent, plucking out both Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola from relative obscurity.

To see Kreis removed from the process is surprising. However, Reyna promises the club has kept a “team-first mentality” when discussing all roster moves, and Kreis has certainly been part of those conversations.

“I am looking forward [to meeting Villa],” Kreis said. “I have no doubt we’ve acquired a fantastic player, but more important, a fantastic man who will do anything he can to lead this group.”

Once pleasantries are set aside and ideology discussed, attention will be turned towards preservation. After Spain’s World Cup run, Villa, 32, will be a man without club until March of 2015.

Much like the New York Cosmos last year, NYCFC faces the unique challenge of not only acquiring players, but maintaining their fitness for the coming campaign. No matter his personal accolades, a run of that magnitude without competitive matches can dull even the sharpest striker.

On a much smaller scale, the Cosmos struggled to loan players prior to their Fall NASL debut. Despite their attempts, they were only able to complete one transfer; Stefan Dimitrov to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Selling short term loans is not an easy task for any organization. However, NYCFC shouldn’t have that issue. Their global apparatus stretches from England to the U.S., Melbourne and now Japan.

The likely scenario would have Villa joining an established City club.

Just don’t count on him plying his trade with the Premiership side.

“We put a training plan to keep David fit and ready to compete,” Director of Football Claudio Reyna said. “The most important thing is he is ready for 2015 and we know he will be for New York City FC. He will be playing some games, but we can’t reveal where this will be.

“We can say he won’t be playing for Manchester City.”

The likely destination would be Melbourne, where the A-League has built in roster rules allowing for “guest players” (high profile stars who can be signed for the short term) to enter competition.

The rule is designed to entice footballers to get a taste of life and competition Down Under, with the hopes of roping them into a longer stay. For NYCFC, it is a loophole than may keep Villa warmed up for the 2015 campaign. Villa will not join NYCFC until the third week of January. Between then and now, only the A-League would provide the type of loan-flexibility to keep Villa active and ready.

As the transition continues for Villa, NYCFC will use him as their foundation in building a competitive roster.

“It’s very important that we have the right person and character to be the right launching pad on the field,” Reyna said of Villa. “David is the perfect person. He is humble, hard working and very committed to this.”

The club has already declared they would acquire three Designated Players in year one. Frank Lampard may be the second as his name is continuously connected to NYCFC. Those three players will likely play the spine of the starting XI, but make no mistake; Villa will be the standard bearer for the roster as a whole.

“When you have three designated players, you have to make sure they are the right ones on and off the field and David just ticked all the boxes,” Reyna says. “We always wanted to sign a player who can score goals, create goals, lead the line up front, be a leader.

“The Man City option of players to come over is a good one and one we will explore and we have explored,” Reyna explains. “Jason has been in Manchester getting to know those players really well. They are a pool of players we have to choose from, but it’s not something we will bring multiple players from Manchester City. Our search for players will not only be concentrated in Manchester City, but all over the world.

“It is a plus to have that resource of talent to look into if we need players to fill gaps and make our squad a little bit stronger.”

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