New York City FC undoubtedly needs a striker/ center-forward. After three games, the team sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 1-1-1. As a whole, they have only scored one goal, and there is no one up front who has the killer instinct of the goal scorer that they need.
At this moment, the club is committing to Talles Magno. There is this belief that he can be turned into a star center-forward, but in all honesty, he should be on the wings. It is not fair to him and his development, and it is not fair to the fans who pay their hard earned money to see their team win.
But then there is the question: Who should NYCFC bring in? Who should they sign? With now three Designated Players on the books, it is impossible to bring in an already established star. Instead, the team will likely need to bring in a player using Targeted Allocation Money, or TAM. There is also room to bring someone in using the U22 Initiative.
Perhaps the Pigeons can find another Héber, or maybe there is a young and upcoming star that no one has caught onto yet. So, here are some players that New York City FC should look into for the striker/ center-forward position.
Jamie Maclaren could fit right in at New York City FC
Jamie Maclaren plays for New York City FC’s sister club, Melbourne City FC, as a striker. He is playing for his home-town club, so it would likely be difficult to convince him to leave. Still, he is a goal-scoring machine, and has 18 goals in 19 league appearances. He has won the Golden Boot four times in Australia’s A-League as well, with the most recent being just last season.
Additionally, his City Football Group connection helps, and can make it easy for NYCFC to contact him. Moreover, like the Pigeons and most CFG teams, Melbourne plays an attacking style of football with the focus on possession. Both teams can change up their line-ups, but both have used the 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1.
Like any change, it could be an adjustment, but the Australian international might adjust more quickly compared to others. His goal scoring ability alone would be a reason to try and convince Maclaren to try a new league.
Jusef Erabi could have potential for NYCFC
Jusef Erabi is just a 19 year old center-forward, but his potential gives NYCFC a good reason to take a look at him. He is from Sweden, and currently plays for Hammarby IF Fotbollförening in the Allsvenskan. Admitably, he has spent most of his time playing on loan or with the reserve side, but again, he is young. As such, it does seem that his club wants him to play with the first team this year.
While the Swedish league does not begin until April, they have played competitively in the Svenska Cupen, and Erabi has four goals in four competitive appearances this year. In 2022, he played for Hammarby’s third tier affiliated club, Hammarby TFF, and had 11 goals in 25 appearances.
There is still little information available about him and his style of play, but Erabi’s fast start to this season might make him a good signing option, even if he is brought in with an established center-forward. He can be a risk, but he can be worthwhile for NYCFC as well.
Matija Frigan is someone New York City FC should look at
There is another young player that is already making noise with a possible transfer that New York City FC might want to pounce on: Matija Frigan. The 20 year old has more first team starts compared to Erabi, and plays as a striker for HNK Rijeka in the SuperSport HNL, the top level of Croatian football.
The young Croatian was on loan the previous season, but he has received plenty of opportunities for the 2022-2023 season with Rijeka. In fact, his number of starts has increased as the season progressed. So far, he has 20 appearances in all competitions, with nine goals. Frigan can also play as a right-winger, but the majority of his competitive goals have come when he is front and center.
It is rumored that Serie A clubs, and possibly the Portland Timbers, have interest in the young striker. If New York City FC sees something in him, then they should reach out as soon as possible. Of course, the club would have to be able to sign Frigan to a non-DP deal, which might be difficult. Nonetheless, he is the type of player to consider, and quickly too.