Quiet transfer window sign of changing mindset within New York Red Bulls


Nearly a year ago to this day, the New York Red Bulls shocked the world with the out-of-left-field signing of Everton legend Tim Cahill.

The acquisition put to rest months of Designated Player rumors connecting the team to potential star players like Kaka, Stephen Ireland and Michael Ballack. Since the introduction of the “Beckham Rule,” such chatter has been common place for New York.

2013, however, has not followed the same narrative.

“It’s been quiet this year,” Head Coach Mike Petke concedes. “I think it has to be the right player, absolutely. There are a 100 names we float around for Designated Player. It all comes down ultimately to our owner and his willingness to spend more money on a team he has spent ridiculous money on already.”

With the new regime in place, a narrative has developed, repeated ad-nauseum by both Petke and Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh. If an opportunity arises, they will surely jump at it, but only if the potential Designated Player is “the right fit.”

“I am of the mindset that just because a big time name pops up doesn’t necessarily mean we should jump on him for a DP,” Petke explained. “We have to do our research as far as personality and what they can bring us. We are in constant conversations about that.

“At the moment, we have names here at Red Bull New York that we talk about, but nothing we would bring to the owners yet,” he admits. “I believe they are aware of certain things we would love but it comes down to them and their willingness to be more generous than they already have.”

In the past, it was the aging star that would get most of New York’s attention, but that mind-set is beginning to evolve much like the rest of the league has; towards a younger, more dynamic, cost-effective long term investments.

“If I had my way, it’s very easy to look at big name players like Thierry (Henry) when he was coming off of contract, Tim Cahill when he was coming out of contract,” Petke begins. “They were both great buys and I am glad we have them with our team. But I think we also have to be looking at places other teams aren’t.

“We have to be looking at the South American area to find, for instance like (RSL) did years ago with (Jamison) Olave, (Fabian) Espindola, (Javier) Morales; young players who have not hit the big time yet. That way you are not spending milions and millions. Instead, you are spending close to a million.”

That doesn’t mean the quest for name players is over; it simply means the organization is beginning to focus their energy towards more long-term investments.

“We should be looking for a younger breed and we should be looking at places that aren’t the obvious ones where everyone else is looking,” he says. “We also have names of players that maybe some would consider on the mature side who have had great years of European soccer.

“I am all over the place with my mindset. I think that of course I would like to start from the ground up – young and build this team, not just through DP’s but our academy and young American players. It’s not easy to do that in my first year here.

“In an organization like Red Bulls and how competitive they are, it’s about results so you need to get a bulk of guys that are ready to go now and step in.”

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