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Douglas Martinez signs with New York Red Bulls II

The Honduras U-20 international will play with NYRB II this season.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On April 26, 2017, the New York Red Bulls announced the signing of Honduras U-20 international Douglas Martinez. The attacking player is on loan from CD Vida for the rest of the season, and has been signed by NYRB II - the Red Bulls USL team - not the first team that plays in MLS.

The news that Martinez is on loan carries with it the implication that his stay is only temporary. But it should be noted that the loan-to-buy model is quite common in MLS, and seems to be particularly common for RBNY.

Back in 2015, it was a little surprising to learn Ambroise Oyongo had been on loan to the Red Bulls for his first year in MLS, because the official announcement of his signing in 2014 made no mention of any such arrangement. Similarly, there is something about the terms of Kemar Lawrence's deal with RBNY that gives cause to think it might have been a loan-to-buy arrangement initially.

One might suggest the fact Martinez is on loan to NYRB II isn't unusual, it's simply unusual to have that announced officially by the club.

As for whether the player is potentially simply passing through, perhaps be mindful of the fact that the official club statement on Michael Amir Murillo's recent arrival at RBNY also described a loan (from his San Francisco in Panama) without any reference to whether there was any future for the player at the Red Bulls beyond this season. But that deal was confidently reported as a loan-to-buy arrangement by the Panamanian press, citing sources connected to San Francisco.

Similarly, the Honduran press has reported Martinez's loan to NYRB II includes an option to buy for the Red Bulls  - source: Martinez himself.

RBNY likes the loan-to-buy arrangement, and probably has done for some time. The only recent development is that the Red Bulls have started using the term "loan" in official statements.

Martinez will effectively use the 2016 season as an extended trial for a permanent deal with RBNY - a deal likely already agreed, just contingent on a satisfactory year with NYRB II.

The timing of Martinez's signing is a little odd. It is known he has been with RBNY for close to two weeks prior to the official announcement of his arrival (the Red Bulls don't make official announcements of player signings until the relevant league paperwork is approved), so he should be pretty much ready to play in NYRB II's next game - but that isn't until May 6.

Martinez is expected to be part of the Honduras squad for the 2017 U-20 World Cup, which starts on May 20 in South Korea. It would seem to be prudent for RBNY to allow the player they just signed to give his best to the biggest tournament of his young career, which would include allowing him to join his national team's preparations for that tournament. So Martinez is probably leaving his new club to link up with his national U-20 squad in the near future.

But he should be able to squeeze in at least one game for NYRB II before he goes, otherwise it isn't entirely clear why he was signed now and not after the World Cup. Look for Martinez to have a role in the II team's May 6 game against Harrisburg City Islanders, and don't be surprised if he steps away from the Red Bulls for a little while shortly thereafter.