February 2, 2017
News broke yesterday that New York City FC’s bid to make Belgian midfielder Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe their third Designated Player was rejected by the player. Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe was being eyed by Patrick Vieira to replace the gaping hole in midfield behind Andrea Pirlo following the retirement of Andoni Iraola.
Vieira and the New York City front office spent no time mourning their failed attempt, instead using the same Belgian connections to contact R.S.C. Anderlecht of the Belgian Juplier League regarding Stéphane Badji.
Badji is a 26 year old defensive midfielder for Anderlecht, with 16 appearances for the Senegalese national team. While he primarily plays as a central midfielder he has played both at right back, and as a centerback in the past, his versatility is something one would believe Vieira is high on given his demands that players play multiple roles throughout a match.
According to multiple reports from Belgium, first reported by Het Neiuwsblad, Anderlecht are willing to let Badji leave on loan to NYCFC. Badji has been deemed surplus to requirements at Anderlecht following their acquisition of Adrien Trebel. Badji had reportedly been unhappy with his lack of playing time as he had only played in 15 matches across all tournaments for the Belgian club, having not even made the bench in the last four matches. While Anderlecht has agreed to the loan, both sides are working to finalize the deal which has not yet been completed.
Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira seem to have developed an affinity for players from the Belgian league with the recent additions of Fred Brillant from Oostende and Maxime Chanot from Kortrijk.
Yesterday NYCFC officially announced the signing of midfielder Alexander Ring. Stéphane Badji would require an international roster spot, however NYCFC have not clarified how many international spots they currently have available.
Should Badji join the team in preseason it appears the question as to who will be New York’s defensive midfielder will have finally been answered.
h/t to Frank D’Amato