When Manchester City decided to form a football team in New York – New York City FC – a fair few eyebrows were raised. People were confused at their ventures into the US market although many saw it as their bid to boost their global profile. Whilst making statements of their intentions in the Premier League by signing players like Alvaro Negredo, it was across the Atlantic where they also looked to make a big statement over how serious their intentions are.
Yes, New York City FC have been said to have made enquiries and contact about the availability of Xavi Hernandez – recent member of the FIFA World XI. NYCFC – a monster acronym – won’t be in the MLS until 2015, and at that time Xavi will be 35 and will have 1 year remaining on his contract at his home club Barcelona. The NYCFC franchise are looking for their marquee signing and those at Manchester City are keen on this possibility.
Last week though, Xavi threw his possible future retirement at Barcelona into the air, saying, “Being tied to Barcelona is a privilege, but I don’t know what will happen in the future.” City director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano both know Xavi well from their days at Barcelona. They are well known to see Xavi as their perfect poster boy for their new project.
City have already invested £300 million into their new American franchise and their new financial muscle could be what swings Xavi over. Currently on £7million after tax, NYCFC could still bring him in due to the rules of having 3 players outside of the salary cap.
Begiristain and Soriano have insisted that manager Jason Kries will get the final say over transfers, and he will work alongside Sporting Director and ex-Manchester City player Claudio Reyna.
“We have to be very aggressive and active in an offensive mode with player recruitment and the player search,” Reyna said. “Our approach, with Jason and I, is to go find the players we want to fit into how he wants to build the team.
“And not just the right people that are important on the field, but probably more important off the field. Toronto did a great job bringing Michael Bradley back. He’s the right guy, a top professional. Those are the kind of people we’re looking for.
“The clock is ticking and we’re looking now. We have 36 scouts within City Football Group and we started to speak with them last year already, started to make contact with them. It’s a lot of fun, to be honest.
“I get to travel and watch games and meet with players and their representatives. Every week there’s a new name being thrown at us.”
Xavi is well known to be a one-club man. Barcelona are his club, he’s been there from a very young age and looks very unlikely to leave. Still playing at the highest level, Xavi is an icon of Spanish football and was key in the recent years of total-tika-taka domination. Being named in the World XI recently – no matter how controversially in the eyes of some – shows he’s still capable and is showing no signs that he needs to drop down a level.
Whatever happens, New York City FC are bound to be putting themselves about, and knowing the way Manchester City have worked in recent years, you wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of well-known names making the trip to Manhattan.
Written by Huw Saunders