If reports that appear to originate with ESPN Deportes are correct, somebody’s about to deliver a Christmas present to Red Bull Global Soccer chief Gerard Houllier. The former Liverpool, Lyon, and Aston Villa boss has been burdened with Rafa Marquez’s contract as part of his oversight of New York, but if (as reported) Liga MX side León is willing to offer the Mexican international a two-year deal, Houllier will be able to swap his problem for a shiny new Designated Player spot.
Perhaps the best part of the report is Marquez’s willingness to walk away from his Red Bulls contract to make the switch to León. Each side signs a piece of paper and it’s over. Annulled.
It’s the best case scenario for Houllier. For over a year, Marquez has been rumored with moves to everywhere from Mexico, to Brazil, to a return to Europe. But most of those rumors never made total sense. Marquez’s situation in New York wasn’t that bad a year ago. His contract, however, was very good.
Now things have deteriorated to so much that the defender’s last appearance for the club ended with a reported confrontation with former-coach Hans Backe after one playoff half. Whereas last year Marquez may have wanted to stick out another year in New York, now he and the team may be on the same page. Time to part ways.
León may have just completed their first tournament back in the first division, but they’re a respected team with a deep history in Mexican soccer. They can bring in a player of Marquez’s profile.
The bigger question, though is why would they? After finishing third in the Apertura, they don’t seem to need him on the field, and while he will bring a degree of fame with him to León, he’ll could also prove a distraction.
Perhaps a return to Mexico will refocus Marquez. For New York, it doesn’t matter. If somebody’s willing to take a Designated Player off their hands, Red Bulls will likely pay the shipping.
And take their money back into the DP market.