By Alex Labidou
Harry Redknapp is open to the possibility of managing the New York Red Bulls, but the former Tottenham boss will not express a formal interest in the position until the future of current coach Hans Backe has been resolved, Goal.com can reveal.
Speculation over the future of Red Bulls head coach Backe continues to grow with the arrival of new general manager Jerome de Bontin.
Backe is in his final year of his three-year contract with the Red Bulls and it is speculated that De Bontin will want to hire his own coach unless the 60-year-old delivers an MLS Cup this season.
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The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Red Bulls have already reached out to a candidate who has Premier League experience. Though the identity of that coach remains unknown, one potential option could be Harry Redknapp.
"Out of respect, Harry wouldn't express an interest in any position while someone else is currently in the job," a source close to the former Tottenham coach revealed.
Redknapp hasn't been approached by either the Red Bulls or De Bontin yet but does have a fondness for the New York club and Major League Soccer. The 65-year-old was effusive in his praise of Red Bull Arena during Tottenham's first trip to the venue in 2010. Redknapp also played in the old NASL version of the Seattle Sounders, the former midfielder making 24 appearances for the club.
Though some observers believe that Redknapp would not be interested in coaching in North America and wants to remain in England, the source refuted that belief. "Harry wants to coach a team with talented players, in a top division. It doesn't necessarily have to be in England," the source said.
Even if the position becomes available, there would be some challenges in bringing Redknapp to New York.
First, the manager is known for his wheeling and dealing during transfer windows and the salary cap of MLS teams would likely be a turn off. Second, if the Red Bulls have had issues in the past with Backe's open nature with the media, imagine the difficulty in handling Redknapp, who has never been one to shy away from a recorder. Lastly, Redknapp wouldn't come cheaply and would likely demand a salary of at least $3 million (£1.9m) per season.
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Still, the recruitment of Redknapp could help the club in its ambitions. It is no secret that the Red Bulls are interested in Real Madrid midfielder Kaka. The Brazilian's agent told the New York Post that his client would consider a move to the Big Apple in 2014. Having a seasoned well-known manager like Redknapp would only be more enticing for the former World Player of the Year. Also, it is rumored that Thierry Henry has a good relationship with the currently unemployed coach.
As for Backe's end, a source close to the coach told Goal.com that the Red Bulls haven't started conversations about a possible extension, leaving his future uncertain with the club. Red Bulls lead executive Gerard Houllier was unavailable for comment on Backe's future.
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