New York Red Bulls are terminating striker Luke Rodgers’ contract, the club announced Friday, also terminating a protracted saga that developed over the Englishman’s visa troubles.
The club’s statement, just released, said:
“After going through the entire immigration and appeals process, Luke’s P-1 Visa application has unfortunately been denied by the U.S. government for now. We have spoken with Luke about potential options and have mutually decided that it would be in all parties’ best interests to terminate his current MLS contract so he could play elsewhere. However, we will also continue to track his progress this year while working with immigration officials with the goal that he could join the Red Bulls sometime in the future.”
So, the situation is different today – but not so very much.
Rodgers could get his visa in the coming days or weeks (assuming there’s no deeper issues involved), the sides could quickly reach agreement on terms similar or exactly the same as in the former contract, moving quickly forward.
Red Bulls manager Hans Backe has said that Rodgers, familiar with the system and presumably in good shape, could be on the field lickety-split upon arrival in New Jersey.
The difference now is that the Red Bulls, provided with a little salary cap room due to Friday’s decision, are free to pursue other options in the meantime.
The situation looks very different, on the other hand, if the Red Bulls do sign another striker or make a trade for one within MLS. Until then, it seems unwise to completely eliminate any possibility that Rodgers would be back with the Red Bulls at some point this year.