Aberdeen’s hopes of keeping Gary Mackay-Steven at the club have been boosted with the player’s chances of a move to New York City dimmed by a change of system and change of fortune for the Major League Soccer club.
US journalist Glenn Crooks, who has been the radio voice of New York City since their expansion in 2015 and covers the club for Pro Soccer USA, believes the Pigeons are no longer looking for attacking wide players.
A change in system has led to a solid run of form for New York City, who initially approached Mackay-Steven in January to discuss a move to the MLS, and following their improved form of late which has taken them up to sixth in the Eastern Conference, Crooks would be surprised if the opportunity to move to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx materialises.
He said: “I doubt that New York City still has an interest and the reasoning could be part current personnel and part system.
“New York City is unbeaten in its last eight matches – ever since changing from a four back to a three back system – essentially from a 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3.
“This shape gets its width from the wing-backs while the two wingers play more inverted and in the half spaces rather than providing width, although mobility allows for the forwards to drift wide as well.”
The MLS operates a designated player rule as part of the salary cap regulations which were introduced in 2007. The rule allows each MLS franchise to sign up to three players who can be considered outside the team’s salary cap.
Maximiliano Moralez is the only one of the three designated players at the club featuring regularly for head coach Domenec Torrent this season and Crooks claims a striker is the area the club is looking to strengthen.
He said: “At present, designated player Alexandru Mitrita is not a regular starter and he’s a winger plus there are two other wide forwards who are talented but seeing few minutes – Taty Castellanos and Jesus Medina, who is another designated player.
“Consequently, the current personnel and the change in system would probably negate the need for a winger. However, if the club feels he can come in and be a primary goal scorer, they will always covet that.”
Meanwhile, the Dons have been linked with a fresh move for former target Dylan McGeouch following Sunderland’s failure to win promotion to the Championship.
The League One outfit beat Aberdeen to the signing of the Hibernian midfielder last summer but McGeouch, who joined the Black Cats on a one-year deal, started just 14 of the club’s 46 league matches due to an injury-ravaged campaign and is considering his future.
McGeouch is also being linked with Rangers and Blackburn Rovers.