David Lee, sporting director for New York City FC and architect of the squad that won the 2021 MLS Cup, revealed in a Q&A with Sam Stejskal in the Athletic that City is fielding offers for star striker Taty Castellanos.
In the interview, Stejskal asked Lee point-blank if there are any offers currently being made. Lee confirmed that there are.
Lee also said that it should come as no surprise that there is interest in Castellanos. Most NYCFC supporters likely understand, and are steeling themselves for his departure: The 23-year-old Argentine striker and Golden Boot winner is entering the prime of his playing career, and if there’s a time to make the move to a European club it is now. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola agrees. According to an account published on MLS.com last week, Guardiola said, “What I saw when the scouting department talked to me, I know he’s a quality player and ready to make the next step to Europe.”
The Daily Mail reported last week that West Ham United are looking at Castellanos, and claim he is valued at £15 million ($20 million). The Daily Mail also reported that a bid from Turkish club Beşiktaş was rejected.
Transfermarkt values Castellanos at $7.7 million. When the striker joined NYCFC in 2018 he was valued at $400,000.
Lee’s wide-ranging interview with Stejskal in the Athletic is revealing. NYCFC’s sporting director is notoriously press-shy, but he opens up to Stejskal about Castellanos and more: If you read between the lines you will get a good picture of how Lee will rebuild the team in this extremely short offseason, how the club will approach its long-term goals, and what it was like in the executive suite when the NYCFC beat the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup.
Here are three juicy moments:
• While most of the NYCFC brass went down to the field in the final minutes of regulation time, Lee remained in the executive suite—he always waits for the final whistle. When NYCFC won on penalty kicks Lee was still in the suite, where, he said, “you probably would have seen me ugly crying.”
• The most important goal of the year? Thiago Andrade’s box-to-box 94th-minute winner against D.C. United. According to Lee, it “was a moment that I think will live forever for all of us at the club.”
• NYCFC is open to selling James Sands: “If an opportunity arises that we think is right, that James thinks is right, then we’ll consider it.”
You can read the full article at the Athletic.