Almost two months after MLS Cup 2016 and the offseason appears to finally be heating up for the New York Red Bulls. Ives Galarcep most recent report for Goal.com outlines many MLS clubs’ upcoming plans for Homegrown player signings this offseason.
Ives states that the Red Bulls are looking at Michigan’s numbers 1 and 2, Evan Louro and Marcello Borges, for potential Homegrown deals.
Louro, a junior goalkeeper who will be 21 in January, has played 45 games over his three years at Michigan and has been the team’s defacto starter since his sophomore year. During his Michigan career, he has been called up to the U.S. U20 Men’s National Team, been named the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week, and has posted 1.17 goals against average. Louro is also drawing interest from European clubs.
Borges, 19, is a fullback, though he has played in the midfield and centerback when called upon. He has been with the New York Red Bulls since he was 13 and is currently a mainstay for the U.S. U20 MNT as they enter World Cup Qualifying. Borges has played the most minutes of any player on the U20 team, despite being one of the only non-professional players on the roster. Borges, a sophomore, has played 28 games for Michigan providing four assists in the process.
The most interesting Red Bulls related tidbit from Ives’ report is that New York are trying to shop Adam Najem’s Homegrown rights around MLS. In a situation eerily similar to fellow former Akron and New York Academy star Bryan Gallego, the Red Bulls are apparently trying to trade away Najem’s MLS rights. The Akron star midfielder has long been considered one of the best midfielders in college soccer and has played in every game over his four years in college, scoring 33 goals and providing 29 assists.
Najem was reported to have been offered a Homegrown contract by the Red Bulls last winter but turned it down in favor of going on European trials. When those did not produce, Najem returned to captain Akron for his senior year. There have long been rumors surrounding tensions between the Najem family and the Red Bulls involving Adam’s brother David, who was also a part of the academy. When David graduated from Columbia in 2013 he did not receive a Homegrown offer as expected, but instead opted to go play in the lower divisions of Germany. These rumors of pre-existing tensions were put to rest this summer when David signed with New York Red Bulls II, putting everything into place for a Najem brothers duo in 2017.
But that appears not to be, as the Red Bulls seems to be interested in shopping around a player often called “college soccer’s best player” for a few extra Garber Bucks to re-sign Ronald Zubar.