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January 9, 2014
Petke: no urgency about Red Bulls adding creative midfielder in pre-season; problems getting one within MLS

By Michael Lewis Editor

The Red Bulls are not about to rush in trying to sign a playmaking midfielder in the pre-season, says head coach Mike Petke, who says it probably would be easier to get one from outside Major League Soccer than within it.

During a Tuesday morning conference call with the team's media, Petke said that the club had "made some progress and we're still looking as well."

"We're not concerned whatsoever," he added about adding a creative midfielder during the pre-season, which kicks off for the team on Jan. 24.

Petke noted that last year's two flank midfield acquisitions -- Eric Alexander (right) and Jonny Steele (left) -- were obtained during pre-season training.

"We're not rushing to judgment, rushing to pick someone up," he said. "We feel that we have an eye on and hopefully that other things that do come up if we do decide to grab somebody, it will be the right person."

One of the factors will be money.

"You have to go back to the salary cap and stuff," he said. "That's why we had to get rid of certain players. We need to make sure we have the money to get the right person. We're still working that out and we still have our eyes open."

Petke said the team had no preference that player came through MLS or from overseas, but acquiring a player in-league because you have to give something up.

"The problem with coming from in the league is that if we have our eye on somebody that we think will fill the void, which means they're a very good player and a valuable player, well, we have to be willing to give up something valuable," he said.

"There were many times last year that we had our eye on somebody from the league and before you know it they're asking for over the moon for them, two key starters for him. That's counterproductive to what we want to accomplish here. It would be a lot easier if you were a team that is rebuilding completely or finished extremely low that you know that you can take those chances. I'm not about to disrupt the quality I have on this team or the chemistry that we build up over a year to bring someone new that we think can be good by giving up something that is obviously valuable to us. It's difficult in the league, but not impossible."

But not practical to the Red Bulls at this point.

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