Taty Castellanos celebrates NYCFC’s win over the Red Bulls last week. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

If Saturday’s home game will be the last time Taty Castellanos plays for New York City FC, the MLS team isn’t telling.

Interim head coach Nick Cushing said on Thursday that the league’s leading goal-scorer and reigning MLS Golden Boot winner will suit up for the squad  against Inter Miami at Yankee Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

There are reports and rumors that Castellanos will be heading elsewhere much sooner than later.

“We’re aware of the speculation and we understand the speculation because of the player that Taty is,” Cushing said during an afternoon media Zoom session. “I think it’s fair to say could be his last game because everyone’s talking about the interest.

“For me, he trained this morning. He trained really well. He’s really motivated. He’s really hungry to help the team win against Miami. He really wants to score. That’s the pleasing thing because we have a full squad to pick from and we can prepare the team for a really, really important game.”

Castellanos, 23, leads all MLS scorers with 13 goals in 16 matches after connecting 19 times during City’s MLS Cup winning season in 2021.

Asked about Castellanos leaving the team, center back Maxime Chanot replied, “Anything about that, I can’t speak to much more than that, to be honest. He’s a very good player and if he’s making a move in Europe, I’m very happy for him.”

Chanot  was the only player made available to the media.

Castellanos has been the subject of rumors and reporters that he is a goner.

Earlier this week, Fabrizio Romano, the king of football transfer news in Europe, reported that NYCFC would sell the Argentine striker to Manchester City, the MLS team’s parent club. ManCity then would loan Castellanos to Girona in La Liga in Spain.

There also have been reports of Castellanos’ transfer fee of being in the range of $15 million.

The big question is when Castellanos leaves, who is going to replace him? Does NYCFC have plans to bring in another quality striker?

Cushing was posed that question but didn’t answer it directly.

“I think the nature of open transfer windows and the nature of soccer in general is recruiting as it is an ongoing process,” he said. “For us, it’s about highlighting who will be the potential next players that can strengthen our team. That’s an ongoing process. That’s a 12-month process for us. So, if there’s an opportunity to bring in a player now, if there’s an opportunity to bring in a player later on, and we feel it’s the right player and the right person to strengthen our team, of course, we will do it but, we will only do it when we feel it’s the right moment to strengthen the team.”