FINALLY. Kaku is officially on the RBNY roster.
If you have followed the New York Red Bulls for any time at all, you know the roller-coaster ride of emotions the team likes to be for its supporters. It used to be the case that big-splash signings were a recurring feature of that ride. From Roberto Donadoni back at the very start of the team’s history, all the way to Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill in more recent years.
But since RBNY adopted its current DIY approach to finding stars for its squad, the splashes have been a little less splashy. Yes, Sacha Kljestan was a big name by MLS standards when he returned to the league to play for the Red Bulls in 2015. No, Bradley Wright-Phillips is not chopped liver. But the last signing the team made that didn’t seem intended to slip under the radar was Gonzalo Veron - and his tenure as a Red Bull never quite fulfilled its promise.
All that to say it’s been a while since the Red Bulls made the sort of move in the transfer market intended to get fans excited from day one. And it’s not entirely accurate to say RBNY intended for Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra to get fans excited from day one - but he sure has made a lot of people happy on day 58.
Back before Christmas, Huracan announced to its fans that it had sold 22-year-old playmaker Kaku to RBNY. And then the waiting game began.
After close to two months of hoping for a transfer that has been done and undone many times since Huracan made its announcement, the Red Bulls finally - FINALLY - are able to unveil the signing they hope will be the team’s next superstar.
“We are very pleased to reach an agreement with all parties and complete this deal,” said Sporting Director Denis Hamlett. “When we identified Kaku, he quickly became our top off-season target. He fits the profile of the player we are looking for: highly skilled, creative, and hard-working. During our discussions, we realized that we are adding a good player and great young man to our team. We look forward to seeing him continue to grow as part of the New York Red Bulls.”
Gamarra began his career at the age of 18 years old and played over four and a half seasons, has appeared 95 times recorded eight goals and thirteen assists. In the first half of the Argentina first division, Gamarra tallied one goal and three assists in twelve matches.
“Kaku is a very exciting player and a great person,” said Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch. “He is a creative, dynamic attacker who can change the game by scoring and setting up teammates. He has an excellent grasp of the game and I think he will thrive in our style of play. He is ecstatic to be joining us and we can’t wait to get to work.”
Kaku has turned 23 in the time since his on-again-off-again transfer to RBNY began, but he’s still young enough to be tagged a Young Designated Player by the Red Bulls. That tag will carry a little bit of pressure and expectation, but there will be time to layer that on his shoulders later. Today is the day simply to celebrate the fact he made it to RBNY at all.
The Red Bulls have the man they had to chase out of 2017 and into the new year, and fans have a seven-figure signing with a fun highlight reel to think about before the season gets underway.
That season will start on February 22 against CD Olimpia in CONCACAF Champions League. It isn’t yet clear whether Kaku - who has been training with RBNY for a while now - is being considered for that game. But he’ll see the field soon enough. And hopefully his work for the Red Bulls is every bit as pretty as what he did for Huracan.