clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Report: Michael Amir Murillo finalizing switch to New York Red Bulls

We're told to expect him in the USA by the end of the week, and perhaps confirmation of his transfer soon after.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Panamanian outlet RPC TV is reporting Amir Murillo "has already signed a one-year, buy-in loan with the New York Red Bulls of MLS".

Citing "a source of full credit", the report goes on to state the player is finalizing his visa and will head to the USA on Friday (February 10) for a medical and official announcement of his transfer by his new club.

It should be noted that Murillo - only a couple of weeks ago -  was recently linked to a similar sort of move to Mexican second-tier side Cafetaleros de Tapachula. So perhaps prudent to let the week play out before celebrating his arrival at RBNY.

Nonetheless, this rumor has followed a promising trajectory toward becoming fact. Its origin can be traced to the outline of a deal tipped by Glen Crooks:

There followed a name for the player:

And now we have a date to expect his official arrival at RBNY to be confirmed:

(Also note that if he's landing at RBNY on Friday, February 10, then the team will be on the other side of the country playing Sacramento Republic in a preseason friendly. Maybe unreasonable to expect an official announcement until, say, the following Monday or Tuesday.)

Murillo's 21st birthday is Saturday, February 11. He has been playing his club soccer for Panamanian top-flight outfit San Francisco, getting regular appearances over the past couple of seasons. The club has got off to a rough start to the Clausura in the Liga Panamena de Futbol: after a 5-1 trouncing by Sporting San Miguelito on February 3, it is bottom of the 10-team top flight with four points from four games and no wins.

Murillo has only featured in one of San Francisco's league games since the club returned from its winter break. He played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Veraguense on January 27. That is mostly explained by his presence in Panama's squad for the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, which ran from January 13-22. But Murillo was held out of the 5-1 humiliation suffered by San Francisco on February 3, which is certainly consistent with the notion that he is about to make a transfer to a new team.

Fitness shouldn't be a concern for a player who has just competed in an international tournament and also recently put in 90 meaningful minutes for his club.

Murillo has a promising pedigree. He was a starter for the Panama U-20 squad that beat a US U-20 MNT which included Matt Miazga and a Jamaican host team that featured Junior Flemmings at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship (ultimately losing the final on penalties to Mexico). In the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League, he was a starter in San Francisco's unexpected 2-1 group-stage win over Queretaro. And he has accumulated nine caps for Panama's Men's National Team since making his senior international debut in March 2016 in a friendly against Nicaragua.

Murillo scored his first - and only, to date - international goal in his second appearance for Panama, in a friendly against Martinique in April 2016. (He is the first scorer in the video below.)

His age might suggest he is a prospect who needs time to develop with RBNY, but his career trajectory to date suggests he will set himself a more ambitious target than a watch-and-learn role in his first season in MLS - if, indeed, he is coming to MLS at all.

The growing confidence of the reporting around this transfer tale does lend it a lot of credibility. Further credibility comes from the fact Murillo is typically described as a right back, but has also played as a central defender - both positions where the first team squad could use depth. He might equally be looking at (in effect) a one-year trial run with NYRB II in USL - to the press abroad, there is no meaningful distinction between the Red Bulls' MLS and reserve team rosters when it comes to transfer stories - but he looks to offer the potential to challenge for a start on the first team's back line.

With thanks to @JuanMapu and @Jerzyiroc.