Keaton Parks deserves European shot but should be offered a contract extension

-Keaton Parks is one of the NYCFC players where his future is up in the air

-If he has a chance to go to Europe, then he should take it

-NYCFC should also offer a contract extension

Keaton Parks of NYCFC
Keaton Parks of NYCFC / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC will probably make quite a few roster changes as the offseason progresses.  They have already declined the options of multiple players.  Meanwhile, the future of some players remains in question.

Keaton Parks is a player whose future is up in the air.  The midfielder’s contract will conclude at the end of the 2024 season.  Already, there are rumors on social media about interest from other clubs like Alkmaar Zaanstreek, or AZ Alkmaar.  The Dutch club currently sits in second place in the Eredivisie.

Now, if Parks wants to try his chance in Europe, then there is no question that NYCFC should help him follow his dream.  Major League Soccer is still growing as a league.  As such, if players desire to take their shot in Europe, then clubs should always try to find a solution. 

The Pigeons are no stranger to helping their talent make the move across the Atlantic.  Jack Harrison and Valentín Castellanos are two examples. Still, the rumors are just rumors.  A few posts on X have gotten traction, but no reputable journalists have mentioned anything regarding a possible move for Parks. 

Will Parks remain with NYCFC?

However, if he would be happy to stay at NYCFC, then the club should offer a contract extension.  The American had been a vital part of the midfield for years.  Yes, there can be concerns regarding his blood clot issues.  Nonetheless, that is a risk that should be taken.  He is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in MLS.  Any other club would try to snatch him away if the Bronx side decided to let him go.

Additionally, Parks was predominantly healthy throughout the 2023 season.  He started 30 regular season matches for NYCFC, scoring twice and assisting on three goals.  He was fourth on the team regarding passing percentage accuracy.  His 88.2% was compared to those who played ten games or more.  He was also second on the team in passing attempts and successful short passes.

One cannot count Parks out on set pieces due to his size and ability too.  One of his two MLS goals was off of a free kick.  Moreover, both of his goals this season were headers, so he knows how to shoot with his head.  The Pigeons need this threat from free kicks and corner kicks.

Using the eye test, the 26-year-old has superb movement on the pitch.  He can easily maneuver around other players and move the ball into the attacking third.  He is not afraid to move forward and take his chance on goal.

Again, if there is a chance Parks could get playing time with a solid European team in one of the top leagues, then he should go for it.  No one should be held back.  At the same time, New York City FC should offer him a contract extension.  He is a valuable member of the team and is someone who puts his heart and soul into the club.