Maximiliano Moralez arrived in New York City this past offseason with relatively little fanfare, despite being the player who replaced Frank Lampard as New York City FC‘s third designated player.
Outside of those who watched Serie A or Liga MX, few had heard of the diminutive Argentine. There were questions over where he would find a role in a very crowded midfield. Those concerns were quickly laid to rest following standout performances from the midfielder.
Given Moralez’s tremendous on-field impact, it’s understandable that Patrick Vieira would like to keep his third DP around as long as possible. With reports that NYCFC had beat out the likes of Racing Club de Avellaneda, Boca Juniors, and Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense for Moralez’s signature, it is no surprise that interest in the player has only grown following his recent performances.
Foreign Clubs Eye Moralez
International interest in Maxi Moralez was confirmed by reporter Juan Fernandez. Fernandez covers Boca Juniors for Fox Sports Argentina and he believes Boca Juniors has Moralez lined up as a possible replacement for current on loan player Ricardo Centurión.
Making his statements on the Argentine show 90 Minutos de Fútbol, Fernandez added that he is only a possible replacement, not that he is being targeted for a transfer.
Centurión is currently on loan to Boca Juniors from Brazilian club São Paulo FC through the end of the season. Boca is currently sitting atop of the table in the Primera División de Argentina thanks in part to the play of Centurión. With Centurión’s loan set to expire at the end of June, the club is deciding whether or not to secure him for the future. As of June 10th, no decision has been made as to whether or not Boca will retain his services for another year.
Should Boca fail to secure his rights, it is believed Maxi Moralez would be a like for like replacement for Centurión. Boca Juniors had previously been interested in Maxi Moralez, placing a bid for his services this past January as a replacement for Carlos Tevez. Montreal Impacts‘s Nacho Piatti had also been a rumored target at the time.
Moralez’s play has been key to NYCFC’s success so far in the 2017 season.
Moralez has been a rock in midfield for Patrick Vieira’s side. Having started every game for NYC and only being substituted out three times (for a total of 6 minutes missed) his stamina alone makes him a valued asset, given the long travel and short turnaround times for MLS sides. Moralez’s 7 assists are behind only Toronto’s Victor Vaquez for the most in the league.
When paired with Alexander Ring and Yangel Herrera, Maxi Moralez helps lead one of the most dynamic midfields in MLS. Yangel Herrera is set to return from the U-20 World Cup in the coming weeks and Alex Ring is coming off of his suspension for yellow card accumulation. Given their play, the trio is likely to continue to keep the likes of Mikey Lopez, Kwame Awuah, Miguel Camargo, John Sterzer and even the great Andrea Pirlo relegated to one-off appearances. At the moment it is unlikely we will see New York City let Moralez go without a fight.
If NYCFC entertains the thought of selling Moralez it is worth noting that there are unconfirmed reports that NYCFC has made an offer to Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta. The latest reports indicate that NYCFC is competing with Italian club Juventus F.C. for the rights to the Spanish midfielder. Iniesta’s annual salary of close to $5 million would make him a designated player under MLS rules, which means NYCFC would have to make salary-cap room for him to join. If NYCFC is unable to move either Pirlo, Villa or Moralez below the DP salary threshold with mechanisms such as allocation money, then Iniesta will not be able to join without taking a severe pay-cut. NYCFC would also free up a DP spot should one of their current DPs be sold or retires. If a suitor like Boca Juniors makes a lucrative offer for Maxi Moralez it will be a difficult decision for Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira to make.