With the City Football Group (CFG) still under heavy watch from the governing bodies of soccer, spending across the board seems to have come to a halt, and that includes New York City FC. Reps have said it will not affect the way they do business. However, you cannot help but feel, at least in the Bronx team's case, there is a sense the purse strings have tightened up.
Without being able to rely on big brother Manchester City FC to absorb some of the losses the team takes, they are indeed strapped. Plus, the team working to construct a new stadium in Willet Points, Queens while they pay astronomical rent at both Yankee and Citi Field can impact spending. Winning the MLS Cup two years ago was not cheap, and now they are feeling the strain from it. But helps seems to be on the way.
The president of S.S. Lazio, Claudio Lotito, confirmed striker Valentín Castellanos will join the club from NYCFC. Castellanos spent last year on loan at CFG’s La Liga club, Girona FC, scoring 14 goals overall in his inaugural European season. The club finished in 10th place after just being promoted the year before.
Now, NYCFC and Lazio agreed to a deal that would bring Castellanos to Rome on a €15 million transfer deal with further incentives. It's not quite the number the Pigeons and CFG were looking for, but it's close enough to their $18 million price tag.
The sale of Valentín Castellanos will not lead to big signings for NYCFC
Unfortunately, NYCFC has struggled to replace Castellanos since his departure. The team first tried to fill his shoes with Héber in 2022 and so far have struck out with Talles Magno, Gabriel Segal, and sometimes Gabriel Pereira in 2023.
The Pigeons recently signed Mounsef Bakrar from Croatian side NK Istra, a 22-year-old Algerian international attacker who may need time to adjust to MLS. At the very least, he gives the squad a new option for a system that desperately needs a jolt to their offense. In addition, the team also signed center-back, Birk Risa.
With over a month left of the transfer period, the €15 million, or about $16.8 million, earned by the sale of Castellanos may give NYCFC some much-needed funds to go out and replenish a depleted roster. But if you are thinking this is what is needed to go out and get Neymar, think again.
Instead, Sporting Director, David Lee, will continue to build NYCFC through youth and affordable young talent that will either lead to becoming great core players or being sold for a lot more than he paid for them. Some might view that as being a feeder team, but until they get into their new digs, finding players they can sell for profit and then continuing to build their core up is essentially all they will be able to do.
While fans will continue to clamor for a big splashy name coming to New York, that is just not where the mentality of the team is. This is what a rebuild looks like.
As such, New York City FC players James Sands, Keaton Parks, and Maxime Chanot will continue to lead this team through this transition. They are expected to be the bridge from former champions to the future which is Magno, Tayvon Gray, and Máximo Carrizo all playing in a new stadium four years from now, and potentially a lot more money to spend on transfers for supporting players.