Caraglio unlikely to return; Lekic’s future unclear


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Milton Caraglio and Rajko Lekic served as the New England Revolution’s starting strike partnership in the 2011 season finale against Toronto FC, but it appears increasingly unlikely that duo will serve in the same role when the Revs open the 2012 season in two months.
Reports surfaced out of Chile earlier this week that the 23-year-old Caraglio had signed with Chilean side Rangers de Talca, and while those reports appear premature, the reality is that the Revolution’s first-ever Designated Player is likely to depart New England after just 12 appearances.
“[Caraglio] has not yet put pen to paper with another club outside of MLS,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said on Tuesday afternoon. “However, having said that, I don’t want this to be misleading. It’s looking very, very likely that Milton will sign elsewhere and will not be back in MLS playing for the Revs next year.”
After Caraglio scored three goals following his August arrival on loan from Argentine club Rosario Central, the Revs declined the purchase option on his contract and instead explored the potential of working out a new deal, a scenario which ultimately didn’t materialize.
Meanwhile, Lekic’s future in Foxborough remains unclear, as Burns indicated the Revs continue discussions with both the 30-year-old Dane and French-born Moroccan midfielder Monsef Zerka.
“With regards to both Rajko and Monsef, it’s been an ongoing discussion since the season ended,” Burns said. “We have not reached an agreement with either player and as we’ve indicated before, at this point it still remains unclear whether or not we will reach an agreement with either.”
Burns cited league and club policy in declining to speak about the specific contract negotiations, but did note that the Revs were looking to significantly strengthen their attack regardless following a 2011 season in which the club scored just 38 goals in 34 games.
“Even if all three of those players (Caraglio, Lekic and Zerka) had re-signed, we’re still looking in all areas of the field,” said Burns. “That’s not just to make a blanket statement, but we’ve been pretty open about that since the end of the season in terms of wanting to strengthen our team defensively and offensively.
“There’s probably not a fan, player, coach or staff member who doesn’t realize that we cannot enter 2012 with the exact same team that we ended the season with in 2011,” he added. “So I think it’s fair to say there’ll be some significant changes and with that comes the realization that not all players will return.”