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Is Rafa Marquez heading to New York Red Bulls?

In what would be a huge signing for Major League Soccer, Soccer America is reporting that Mexico star Rafa Marquez is close to signing for the New York Red Bulls.

Marquez who was one of Mexico’s stars in the World Cup will sign a three or four year deal worth around $2.8M a year.

From the Soccer America article:

Rafa Marquez to the New York Red Bulls? A done deal, or a very nearly, as near as you can get, done deal, I am informed. A three- or four-year deal at $2.8 million a year.

That really is exciting, and not just for Marquez — a world-class player, in his prime at age 31. A player who would be welcomed by most of Europe’s top clubs. One might, therefore, be suspicious as to why Barcelona would let him go — but a more intriguing question relates to his choice of MLS as his destination.

Because, make no mistake, this is a huge coup for MLS. In the Beckham class, for sure — certainly in the sense that Marquez brings much more on-the-field potential than Beckham ever promised, even had he managed to remain fit, or available, for more than a few games at a time.

The marketing and the celebrity prizes will no doubt remain firmly in Beckham’s corner, but it would not do to underestimate Marquez’s pulling power among the huge Mexican-American — widen that to Latin-American — soccer community.

This is a great signing for the Red Bulls both on and off the field. Marquez has been one of the most successful Mexican players in the last ten years, and he will bring Mexican fans out to watch him, both in New York and on the road.

And there is no doubt that with Marquez, and Thierry Henry, the Red Bulls are a much better team than they were two weeks ago. I would expect Marquez to sit in front of the NYRB back four, like he did for Mexico in the World Cu. Up front New York has Henry and Juan Pablo Angel, the best attacking partnership in MLS. All they are missing is a creative midfield player, but even without that, the Red Bulls have to be considered massive favorites to win the MLS Cup this year.