ORANGEBURG — The uncertainty around Valentín Castellanos’ future with New York City FC came to an end Thursday.
The Argentine forward signed a new five-year contract with NYCFC, the club announced Thursday. The deal keeps the forward known as "Taty" with the club through the 2025 season.
The contract will take Castellanos above the MLS maximum contract threshold, so he will be paid in part with allocation money but will not occupy one of NYCFC’s two open designated player slots.
The subject of transfer rumors through the first few weeks of the MLS season, Castellanos was linked with Brazilian giants Palmeiras, but the move never made much sense for NYCFC, which has little depth at forward.
"I definitely think this was the right decision for me," Castellanos said through a translator. "I spoke to my family, to my loved ones, everyone around me, and ultimately that's what led me to sign for five more years here, and I know that I will continue to grow throughout my career and whether after five years I'm still here, it doesn't matter, I'm defending the New York City FC jersey right now."
Castellanos is off to a fast start this season, leading the Eastern Conference with four goals and scoring in each of NYCFC’s opening four matches. The 22-year-old said the interest from abroad helped fuel his strong start to the campaign.
"I knew about the rumors and the interest there was from a lot of important teams, but the situations, none of the came to fruition obviously," Castellanos said. "To me, these rumors pushed me to keep working hard and it gave a lot of energy and it made me focus even more to perform here, because I knew that there was interest, it was nice to have these big clubs looking at me. But it helped me grow as a player, and I think I grew a lot over the past few weeks."
NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila said the club is 'very, very satisfied with Taty,' believing there is room for improvement and commending Castellanos' ability to fill key roles for the club on and off the field.
"It was so important for me, and also for the club, the whole team," Deila said. "He’s a top striker, and at the same time for me, he’s a leader in the way he is on the pitch, the way he works, the way he uses physique, puts standards into the team. And he’s 22 years old. So for me, it’s a big, big signing."
"It’s much better to extend the players that we know are important for us and also are going to be better in the future than always signing new players. I think this is one of the biggest things happening for us right now."