Offseason Notebook | Arena provides insight into Revolution’s year-end roster moves

10_13_22 Bruce Arena CROP

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s all eyes on 2023 as the New England Revolution announced year-end roster moves on Thursday morning, declining contract options on four players (Emmanuel Boateng, Clément Diop, Wilfrid Kaptoum, and Edward Kizza) and seeing contracts expire for three others (A.J. DeLaGarza, Nacho Gil, and Brad Knighton).

Nine players had their contract options for 2023 exercised, joining 15 others with guaranteed contracts to form a 24-player roster heading into the offseason. At the moment, Bruce Arena and his staff have six open roster spots, including three international spots as they aim to make additions to strengthen the squad ahead of the next campaign.

“We have a lot of room available – not a lot, but we have room available on our senior roster to bring in players,” Arena said during his final official media availability of the season on Thursday. “We’re looking to bring in three or four new players.”

Arena said that much of the groundwork for New England’s offseason moves has already been done, as the technical staff has been exploring ways to improve the roster – both within MLS via trades and free agency, and through international scouting – since springtime.

Citing injuries to key players like Giacomo Vrioni, Dylan Borrero, and Gustavo Bou at critical points in 2022, Arena said that the Revs need to add competition at those spots – and others – identifying striker, central midfield, and the backline as areas of need.

“The free agency date starts November 16, so we will be patient and look at that,” Arena said. “There are some players abroad that we’re looking at now that, if we can reach an agreement in the near future, we certainly would try to do that. But we’ve been working on this probably for six months on how to strengthen our roster for 2023, so we know who our targets are and hopefully we can secure some of those players to make our team stronger for next year.”

“We’re going to make some trades” | Arena says Revs will be active within MLS market

While the Revolution’s roster stands at 24 players following Thursday’s transactions, Arena pointed out that not every player currently under contract for 2023 will necessarily begin the campaign in Foxborough. Some MLS teams have already expressed interest in current Revolution players, according to Arena, and the club will explore all of those possibilities as they aim to form a stronger roster for 2023.

“There could be some trades,” Arena said. “There’s a lot of things that are ahead. Some players will perhaps have an interest in going elsewhere, that we could certainly discuss with them. But we’re going to make some trades.

“I would say with the players that you see – I’m looking at the list now – that have guaranteed contracts for next year plus the option players, there are obviously going to be some trades. We are trying to strengthen our team. We have some players that have interest from other teams, so there’s going to be some changes for sure.”

“I think he should explore free agency” | Arena explains Boateng’s option being declined

One name that stood out on the Revolution’s list of declined options was Ema Boateng, who racked up four goals and seven assists in a little more than 1,300 minutes the past two regular seasons, plus one more assist in just six minutes of postseason action. The 28-year-old winger made 28 of his 40 appearances in New England as a substitute and became a consistent weapon off the bench.

Arena left open the possibility of Boateng returning to the Revolution, but said he also encouraged the veteran midfielder to explore his options when provided the opportunity.

“His option number is higher than we’d be willing to pay at the moment, but I told Ema, he’s a free agent, and I think he should explore free agency,” Arena said. “It’s very rare that players in the league have that opportunity. So I said, ‘Regardless of whether you come back to New England or not, you should explore the opportunities you have in free agency.’”

“I know he has an interest in perhaps going elsewhere” | Arena shines light on Altidore loan

Jozy Altidore’s loan to Liga MX side Club Puebla is set to expire on December 31, at which point the veteran forward is slated to return to the Revolution. However, Arena said the Revs are in discussions with Altidore’s agent about the possibility of facilitating a move elsewhere.

“His season will likely end this weekend and we will have continued discussions with his agent,” Arena said. “I know he has an interest in perhaps going elsewhere, and we’ll work with him to see if that possible.”

Altidore had one goal in 17 appearances (four starts) in a Revolution shirt prior to his summer loan.

Arena says Tajouri-Shradi’s status for 2023 “is yet to be determined”

One player whose future remains undecided is forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who was acquired via trade with Los Angeles FC in early August but has yet to appear for the Revolution while dealing with a significant injury. New England has until the deadline of November 14 to decide whether to exercise or decline Tajouri-Shradi’s 2023 option, and Arena said that process is ongoing.

Arena provided some context for Tajouri-Shradi’s situation on Thursday, revealing that the 28-year-old is currently battling a serious injury, but the Revolution remain hopeful that the dynamic attacker will ultimately recover and eventually play for New England.

“That is yet to be determined what his status is for next year," Arena said of Tajouri-Shradi. "I will be meeting with his agent next week to discuss his future. We think the world of him. He’s a really good guy, and I’m hopeful that he gets healthy, but that remains to be seen.”