The claim emerged in comments by Michael Ballack’s agent Michael Becker who was expressing disappointment his client would not get to play in the Big Apple.
Becker was quoted as saying: “Michael would love to play in New York. However, it seems that (Bulls’ general manager) Erik Soler already made massive promises to Stephen Ireland in October. This is an unbelievable incident. There are a lot of places where Michael believes he would be a good fit, but in New York with Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, that’s a title-winning team in his mind.” There was no confirmation of the claim from Ireland last night.
The talented midfielder has this season regained his form at Villa Park and, although he recently hinted that he might return to international football after the European Championship finals in June, there is as yet no real sign that he might ever resume the Irish career which ended in controversial circumstances in 2007.
MLS teams can begin signing players from abroad from June 16.