New York City FC: 3 things club must do before 2021 season

New York City FC (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
New York City FC (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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New York City FC
New York City FC (Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

2. Sign impact players, especially a striker and left-back

In the last month or two, rumors have been swirling around New York City FC, and most are not positive.  For starters, any player that was reported to be on the Pigeons’ radar, or even an offer was made, has turned down that offer.  For example, Franco Cervi was the top rumored signing, and it was reported NYCFC made a $10 million bid.  But Cervi turned down the deal and was linked to Real Club Celta de Vigo in Spain.

Right away, fans believed that Cervi and others turned down playing at NYCFC due to the coach, mismanagement of the organization, and the fact the team still plays at Yankee Stadium.  But, this happens all the time.  Not every player will want to go to a club that is interested in them.

In Cervi’s case, he still wants to play at a higher level, and his turning down NYCFC is a respectful choice.  If he has a chance to play in La Liga, which is one of the top leagues in the world, then he should choose that over MLS, which is a growing league.  Alas, Cervi is still with S.L. Benfica and will remain there until the end of the season.

Of course, there is always the possibility that players who would move to MLS would not want to sign for the suspected reasons above.  If any of the rumors are reasons why, then the club must address those issues.  A team cannot move forward and find success when attempted signees do not like the coach or find the organization itself to be in shambles.

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Nonetheless, with two open Designated Player spots, and a need for a striker and left-back, the lack of signings is still troublesome.

Since the MLS season does not start until April, there is time for signings.  However, the winter transfer window has closed for multiple leagues, leading to fewer opportunities for signings.

As mentioned, Ring and Matarrita were traded away from NYCFC.  Evidently, the Pigeons could use a midfielder, but the youth within the club will likely take over for Ring’s position.

With the left-back position, Gudmundur Thórarinsson is the only option to play there consistently.  Glimpses of his talent were seen in the 2020 season, but there is no guarantee he will be able to fill the starting role.  Therefore, the club must find an established left-back, and enable competition for the position.

But more importantly, New York City FC needs a striker.  Héber will probably be out to start the season, and Valentín Castellanos can play, and is somewhat better, on the wings.  Although Castellanos can play upfront and center, the club must find a proven, goal-scoring striker.  This is especially important in the case the rumors surrounding the Argentine’s departure are true.

Preferably, this is a spot that should be filled using a Designated Player contract.  Yes, Héber was incredible in his first season, but he barely scored in 2020, even before his injury.  In a season where NYCFC cannot fail, they must have another striker on the roster. In the end, the Pigeons must make signings who will make a difference in the Starting XI.  But, they must sign players who want to be in New York and will give their all on and off the pitch.