Did Kreis Want A Younger Designated Player Than Pirlo?

It is anything but certain that Kreis preferred a younger DP than Italian legend Andrea Pirlo despite a report
by Nick Chavez   |   Thursday, June 25, 2015

When respected New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy tweeted, “NYCFC staff wanted a younger DP to build around. But Manchester City runs the show” following his reporting of Pirlo’s signing late Sunday night, it was predictably retweeted over 100 times by MLS fans and media across the nation that have always been particularly fond of the “NYCFC only exists as Manchester City plaything” narrative.


But, what was Bondy’s claim based on? In his report, he wrote:


“When rumors surfaced recently about Spaniard Xavi joining NYCFC as the third DP, coach Jason Kreis declared that the midfielder was not an ideal fit because of his age (35) and position (redundant with Lampard arriving in July). ... Kreis had a different opinion (below) when asked last week about Pirlo, who plays more withdrawn in the midfield. Still, the fact that Kreis was pining for a younger DP is further evidence that the parent club, Manchester City, is running the show.”


It seems Bondy based the tweet on the NYCFC coach’s comments regarding Xavi after the former Barcelona legend pulled a frustrating U-turn on NYCFC and abruptly changed his mind and decided to go to Al Sadd, even after he had given NYCFC every reason to believe he’d be joining the MLS expansion side.


Considering the context, it is likely that Kreis was spinning it to save face for NYCFC with a shrug, following this unexpected snub from the Barcelona legend.


But even if the Italian’s age is a concern for Kreis, Pirlo is a different player, who also operates in a distinct position with different qualities than Xavi.


As for Kreis’s aforementioned “different opinion”, he explained: "If you understood me, I was saying that there were two factors and they were kind of operating against Xavi - one was the age, the other was the position, but Pirlo doesn't play the same position as Xavi."


In other words — Yes, Pirlo and Xavi are both getting up there in age, but Pirlo positionally provides a better fit for what fans currently need at NYCFC.


In any case, unless Bondy is withholding some details from a source close to the club (and I tried to pry some more insight from him, but he did not take the opportunity to provide any), it seems that he is basing his entire “Kreis was pining for a younger DP” claim on this old quote about Xavi and his concern about his age, since he has added absolutely no other details or reasons for us to believe that CFG completely disregarded Kreis’s wishes.


I find this to be a flimsy claim that seems to be founded more on an assumption than actual inside information based on the way it was presented. It seems like he assumed Kreis was still “pining” for a younger DP just because of his comment about Xavi’s age in March.


Some even tried to claim that the confusion surrounding NYCFC’s supposed loan of Lampard to Manchester City is somehow “further evidence” (some even went as far as to call it “proof”) that CFG must’ve disregarded Kreis’s preferences and signed Pirlo against his wishes.


Though CFG’s shocking mishandling of Lampard gives you reason to believe something like this is possible, that particular instance in January is absolutely no evidence of what has happened here in June regarding Andrea Pirlo’s reported signing. These are clearly two separate instances involving two separate players, and any other assertion reached based on this “evidence” involves only assumptions and speculation.


Now, again, Stefan Bondy may know more about this and is withholding details that would confirm his claim, but until I hear said details, color me unconvinced.


But, what if CFG did in fact ignore Kreis’s wishes on the 3rd DP?


Now, for the sake of discussion, let’s say Bondy is fully informed and Kreis’s wishes were disregarded. As a rule, I prefer that the head coach always has the first and final say about which players come and go on his team. He is the one who should have the most insight into what weaknesses his team has, what players would best improve upon those shortcomings, as well as whether a particular player would fit in with the team culture and philosophy.


That said, it’s not uncommon for even a big club’s coaches to be dictated to by those that really have the final say in who comes and goes, the club’s president or owner. Though it often frustrates Real Madrid supporters, they are well-accustomed to seeing a coach’s wishes get ignored in order President Pérez to bring in a hot, marketable star, sometimes replacing a fan favorite. Sometimes it works out for the best, sometimes it doesn’t. But Real Madrid is the most successful European club of all time with 10 Champion’s League titles.


So, for some to pretend that CFG (the owners of New York City FC) potentially dictating which players come and go is some sort of unique or demeaning arrangement for NYCFC is a disingenuous. And certainly not in MLS, where big name players come to clubs whether the coach requests them or not, often mostly for marketing purposes.


That said, regardless of whether Pirlo was Kreis’s top choice for a DP or not, the Italian maestro is obviously an asset to any team in the world, both on and off the field.


New York City fans should never forget that fact amidst all of the predictable noise from a seemingly unsubstantiated claim, and the twitter party thrown by the mob out there that want nothing more than to see New York City FC humbled. Always remember what Flav and Uncle Chuck told you, New York… Don’t believe the hype.


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