Fidel Escobar played in all three games of Panama’s games at the 2018 World Cup: he was a regular starter for the Los Canaleros squad that will be remembered by history as the first Panama side to qualify for a World Cup finals tournament. Since 2015, Escobar has earned 30 caps for his national team; since arriving at the New York Red Bulls mid-way through 2017, he managed 13 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Unsurprisingly, when Escobar’s 18-month loan to RBNY from Sporting San Miguelito was up, it was time for him to move on. The Red Bulls announced the end-of-loan option on Escobar’s deal would not be picked up; Escobar himself announced that any decision to part ways was, at the very least, mutual - per a message on his Instagram account:
I decided to look for new horizons and more minutes of play, other challenges that continue to help me grow professionally, that is why I announce my departure from this great institution.
If the rumor mill has anything to do with it, Escobar won’t be looking for his next team for very long. His agent has suggested there are other teams in MLS that might be interested in - perhaps even willing to play - a proven Panama national team defender:
"Fue una decisión sana... Fidel NECESITA JUGAR. En el NY Red Bulls era difícil. Tienen centrales de selección de Estados Unidos. Hay equipos de MLS interesados, pero también veremos otros mercados": Edgardo Carles (representante de Fidel Escobar) para #DuroAlHueso. pic.twitter.com/DkQb4cqRWX— Álvaro Martínez (@duroalhueso) December 5, 2018
TV Max’s Somos La Sele thinks Escobar might have opportunities in Colombia. There is a whisper that the player might be on his way to Chile next:
¡ ! El defensor panameño Fidel Escobar, internacional con el combinado nacional, estaría muy cerca de firmar con el Huachipato de la Primera División del fútbol chileno, club en el que milita el delantero Gabriel Torres. #ChepeBomba— ChepeBomba (@ChepeBomba) December 5, 2018
✍ : @josemigueldomi pic.twitter.com/G32HMLf0kT
Or maybe Mexico:
Fidel Escobar, no seguirá con los Red Bulls, posiblemente sea fichado para un equipo en México. #TReporta #DeportesTR pic.twitter.com/3O88yRGwBe— Telemetro Reporta (@TReporta) December 5, 2018
Escobar should be expected to find a new club relatively soon: his continued selection for the Panama national team has kept his visibility and profile high, and his lack of playing time for RBNY surely made it clear to him some ago that he’d need to find a new place to play at the end of his loan. If he didn’t leave the Red Bulls with a pretty good idea of where he’s going next, it will be a surprise.