Who Can Fill the Designated Player Void?

The New York Red Bulls have made some good moves in the January transfer window, but there is still more room on this squad. Sacha Kljestan was the biggest signing this past transfer window, but he did not have a Designated Player contract. Recently, there have been rumors that some of Italy’s finest may be coming to New York this summer. The most talked about name is Cristian Zaccardo.

He was on the 2006 Italy squad that won the World Cup, but hasn’t been called up since he scored an own goal against the United States back in the 2006 World Cup. Zaccardo made his name when he was with Palermo back in 2004 to 2008 with over 140 appearances for the club.

Along with that, he was a star at Parma from 2009 to 2013 as well. But, the center-back hasn’t been a regular starter on his current club since coming to AC Milan in 2013.

Zaccardo isn’t exactly young. He is 33 years old and his days a professional footballer are numbered. What the Red Bulls can take out of this situation is his leadership and experience. The man has been playing a top level since he made Bologna’s senior squad in 2000. He has played in a World Cup and won it. He also won a title with Wolfsburg in the 2008/2009 season.

He can come on and make an immediate impact.

He can help Matt Miazga become one of the league’s best defenders, and help the team’s defense that stumbled quite often last season. MLS is not as good as the Serie A, but Zaccardo would be well-liked in these parts. Fans of Parma, Palermo, and Italy would come out to see him play here, giving the Red Bulls more tickets sold.

The next Italian on the burner is Daniele De Rossi. The man has been at Roma his entire life, and has played at three World Cups, including the 2006 squad. He is the highest paid player in the Serie A with 6.5 million Euros. (7.4 million USD), the Red Bulls would have to give A LOT of money to keep this man happy wage-wise. If he were to come to New York, he would be the biggest signing since Thierry Henry back in 2010. Last month, De Rossi stated:

I’d like to end my career overseas. I want to live in America, and I hope I’ll be able to do that.

That should be more than enough to get New York interested in him. The man is a leader and can be the defensive anchor that the Red Bulls needs in the midfield after a lot issues last season. De Rossi would bring fans in just like Thierry Henry did when he first came. Italian-Americans would be the biggest ticket buyers.

According to the 2000 Census, New Jersey had 1.5 million Italian Americans, and New York having 2.7 million. That number has surely grown in the past 15 years, but it’s a lot of people to target. The main issue with De Rossi is obviously wage. He is the highest paid player in Italy and would need a lot of money to bring him over here. Without Cahill or Henry to pay, the Red Bulls might be able to strike a deal with Roma and De Rossi and bring him to New York.

More than likely, these deals won’t go through. It is possible, but it seems rather unlikely, at least for now. The window is closed and other players around the world may feel unsettled with their clubs and New York’s front office might jump on them, but these are just rumors and potential signees for when the summer rolls around.


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