If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
In a recent report from Danish newspaper BT, midfielder Lebogang Phiri is rumored to be joining New York City FC during the summer when his current contract with Brøndby IF is up. NYC was previously reported to be interested in the South African midfielder back in January, but was denied by Brøndby after offering $650k for his services, which was quite short of his $1.5 million market value as listed by Transfermarkt.
Phiri, 22, is listed as primarily being a center midfielder and is capable of playing in the defensive midfield as well. His Wikipedia page (yeah, I know. But still..) even goes as far to say that the South African is “usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker.”
Before we go any further, let’s address something. We here at Hudson River Blue all love Pirlo. I love Pirlo. Sam Dunn loves Pirlo. Raf Rivera loves Pirlo. Everybody loves Pirlo. And any criticism of the Italian legend should be juxtaposed with his endless list of achievements within the realms of “The Beautiful Game” as well as his role in bolstering NYCFC’s popularity in its infancy.
But, all good things must come to an end. And in Pirlo’s case, that ending would be much preferred should it come sooner rather than later.
More often than not, the man known to the mortal man as “the Maestro” has shown to be a liability in coach Patrick Vieira’s system. Too little are we left salivating from a wonderful, God-like pass from the deep midfield and too often are we left frustrated by Pirlo’s ineffective, sometimes laughable attempts to play defense. And though Vieira has done his best to compensate for these obvious weaknesses by flanking Pirlo with the likes of Alexander Ring and Maxi Moralez, little has changed in regards to the World Cup winner’s impact on the game.
At the tender age of 22, Lebogang Phiri could not only be the answer to NYCFC’s immediate needs, but has the potential to be that answer for a number of years to come. And should this move become final over the summer, it could very well be the end of Pirlo’s reign in the Five Boroughs.