It's bad times at the moment for the current New York Red Bulls defense. Not even the most optimistic of fans could deny that. I'm not sure, however, that the team needs a 36-year old defender who may/may not be getting slower with every day.
Reports posted on MLSSoccer.com and the Football Italia website are claiming that the Red Bulls are interested in acquiring veteran AC Milan defender Alessandro Nesta. According to the stories, Nesta would, if the two sides agree on a deal, join New York in June. The Football Italia story claims that Nesta turned down a 12-month extension with AC Milan due to the fact that he wants to play in a "less pressured atmosphere." In other words, Nesta, according to the Football Italia post, believes Major League Soccer won't present a challenge that he can't handle.
Perhaps Nesta should have a chat with Markus Holgersson.
Nesta has started in just 14 Serie A games during the current campaign. Three of those starts came in the last month. He was also featured in several UEFA Champions League and Italian Cup contests in the past few months. Nesta had been linked with a potential summer move to Juventus, a rumor that the player recently shot down.
New York will be forced to sent a makeshift back line onto the pitch this Saturday when they host the New England Revolution. Defenders Wilman Conde, Stephen Keel and Roy Miller are all guaranteed to miss the contest because of injuries. Jan Gunnar Solli, who was banged up during last Sunday's game at DC United, may also be forced to sit out. Keel and Conde are likely out for at least a few more weeks, and Conde has a history of injury worries. It's safe to bet that Conde will miss at least a couple of games this summer.
Even when healthy, Keel has had some forgettable moments during the opening months of the 2012 season. Keel, as did the now departed Tim Ream throughout 2011, has been caught ball-watching too often this season. The previous mentioned Holgersson has been, as harsh as it may be to say, something less than an MLS defender since joining the team. I can't imagine that Holgersson would be taking the field this weekend if head coach Hans Backe had his entire first choice lineup available.
I've stated throughout the spring that the Red Bulls are built to win now, and not two years from now. While that may (is) the case, the franchise must take at least a couple of steps toward building for years down the road. A team that features Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez (if he can avoid suspensions), Conde and Nesta had better be one that brings the MLS Cup to Harrison, NJ at least one time in the next 19 months. Otherwise, signing Nesta, if it actually happens, could be just one of many moves that takes the Red Bulls several years in the wrong direction.