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NYCFC rejects River Plate offer for MLS Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos

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New York City FC has rejected an offer for striker Valentin Castellanos from Argentine giants River Plate, a source close to the club confirmed to ESPN.

The source told ESPN that River’s offer, which Tyc Sports reported to include a transfer fee of close to $10 million, is “below the team’s valuation” and that River will need to increase its offer in order to get a deal done. ESPN previously reported that the Blues would require a transfer fee of $15m in order to sanction the departure of Castellanos.

Castellanos is in Costa Rica with NYCFC ahead of Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League first-leg match against Santos de Guapiles.

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“The ball is in River’s court,” the source added.

Since the conclusion of the 2021 season, one in which NYCFC claimed its first MLS Cup, Castellanos has drawn interest from across South America. Brazilian side and Club World Cup finalist Palmeiras made an offer of about $12.5m, which the MLS team rejected, although sources tell ESPN that the Verdao remain interested in the striker. Fellow Brazilian outfit Internacional has also expressed interest.

Brazil‘s transfer window closes on April 12, while Argentina‘s will conclude on Feb. 19.

Castellanos has spoken of his dream to one day play for Marcelo Gallardo’s River, and the manager recently confirmed that the NYCFC striker was among the club’s targets, though there are others. River’s hope is to count on Castellanos for the start of the 2022 Copa Libertadores, which begins in April.

A native of Mendoza, Argentina, Castellanos originally joined NYCFC on loan in 2018 from Uruguayan side Montevideo City Torque, a fellow member of the City Football Group — along with Manchester City, Girona, Melbourne City and Yokohama F. Marinos, among others. The Blues made the move permanent at the conclusion of that season.

In 35 league and playoff appearances in 2021, Castellanos scored 22 goals and added eight assists while winning the Golden Boot. He also scored in the MLS Cup final triumph over the Portland Timbers. In parts of four seasons with NYCFC, he scored 40 goals with 18 assists in 99 league and playoff appearances.





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2022 MLS season: Fire standing behind struggling goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina

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Gabriel Slonina has made his decision. He’s going with the United States men’s national team.

Slonina, 18, announced Friday on social media he is committing to the US over Poland. A dual national, Slonina was recently named to Poland’s roster for its upcoming UEFA Nations League matches but has chosen to cast his lot with the United States program. Poland clearly wanted Slonina badly, as shown by coach Czesław Michniewicz traveling to Chicago to meet with him and present him a jersey.

Those overtures were rejected, and Slonina explained why. Though he discussed his pride in his heritage and what it means to be Polish, Slonina said “my heart is American.”

“This country has given me and my family all the opportunities I could ask for,” Slonina posted. “It’s pushed me and supported me through good and bad. I understand the privilege of wearing the badge, and the only time I’ll put my head down is to kiss it. America is home and that’s who I’m going to represent.”

Because of his age, FIFA rules allow Slonina to play in three matches for a national team before being bound to a country, so it’s possible he could change his mind in the future.

Slonina is part of a crowded US goalkeeping picture that includes Manchester City’s Zack Steffen, the Revolution’s Matt Turner (who will join English club Arsenal this summer) and former Fire standout Sean Johnson, currently the captain of reigning MLS Cup champion New York City FC. Poland is also strong in net, led by Wojciech Szczęsny, the starter for Italian powerhouse Juventus.

But just because Slonina, who’s represented the US at youth levels, has made this decsion doesn’t mean all his major choices are complete. Slonina’s been linked with major European clubs, and with their transfer windows opening soon, the young goalie might be forced to decide between famous teams in the near future.

Slonina’s recent play for the Fire has raised questions about whether those outside factors have taken a toll. Last Saturday, Slonina’s late giveaway led to the Fire’s 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati. Then on Wednesday against the Red Bulls, Slonina whiffed on an easy save for New York’s second goal, overcommitted on their stoppage-time equalizer and could’ve easily given away a penalty after contacting an opposing attacker in the Fire box.

After the Red Bulls match, coach Ezra Hendrickson was asked whether the external noise was affecting Slonina’s concentration.

“Maybe outside of the game but in the game I don’t think he’s thinking about all that stuff. He just happened to make some mistakes,” Hendrickson said. “You know, we all make mistakes as soccer players and it just happened to be that in that position of his, your mistakes are more dangerous, are more costly than someone missing a goal or something like that. But he’ll get out of it and we’ll make sure that he stays positive and stays confident.”

Perhaps that will be easier for Slonina with one major decision out of the way.





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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi – rsl.com

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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi  rsl.com



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Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin on being first place in MLS – FOX Soccer

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Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin on being first place in MLS  FOX Soccer



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