Bradley Wright-Phillips signed a new contract that made him a DP after tying the MLS single-season goalscoring record with 27 last year. But Thierry Henry has retired and Tim Cahill has left the club and since joined Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, leaving the Red Bulls short of stars.
The club have had an offseason full of transition, one of the key changes being Jesse Marsch’s appointment as head coach following the sacking of Mike Petke, and supporters are rightly concerned going into the new season.
The Red Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference final in the MLS Playoffs in 2014 but the chances of replicating that are slim this year. The team needs to replace quality with quality, especially in the case of Henry, but that hasn’t happened.
Marsch has hinted that the team could bring in at least one more DP in the summer and has revealed that the club are leaving space free on the salary cap so that big names can be acquired in a few months.
“It would be with the thought that ‘What big player can we go out to get to add to this?’ Whether it is designated player – that would probably be the category of player we’re looking for,” Marsch said at the Red Bulls training facility on Friday.
“But you know, how it all plays itself out. But for sure, we’re leaving room for one or two big moves if we feel we need to.”
Marsch did not reveal exactly who the Red Bulls were looking at but revealed the club had players that they were keeping an eye on.
“I would say we have center-backs on the radar, forwards on the radar and a mobile attacking midfielder on the radar for the DP position.”
Sacha Kljestan has been brought in on a non-DP contract and will be an important player this season but there is no doubt that the New York Red Bulls need a new star name.
Waiting until the summer will increase the chances of signing star players from Europe, as the transfer windows on the other side of the Atlantic open back up in July, and clubs would only be willing to part company with a key player as long as they can replace them.
Alternatively, the Red Bulls could approach to sign players that have less than six months remaining on their current deals at any time now and they would then join the club in the summer.
A pre-contract agreement can be signed with players aged 23 or older who have less than six months remaining on their contract.
Do the New York Red Bulls need to bring in at least one more DP to be a force in MLS in 2015?