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Rumor: PSV eyeing New York Red Bulls’ Michael Amir Murillo

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First of many rumors featuring RBNY’s right back this year, one suspects.

MLS: Eastern Conference Knockout Round-New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to Juan Mapu for bringing this to the attention of the RBNY-interested:

The rumor that Michael Amir Murillo has caught the attention of heavyweight Dutch club PSV does not appear to have found traction in the Netherlands just yet, but that is not reason to dismiss it out of hand.

The Central American rumor mill has been pretty reliable recently with regard to RBNY, but at the moment that seems to be the only reason to give this particular story much credence.

The rumor appears to have originated with Panamanian reporter Alvaro Martinez, who Tweeted the news on March 2.

Since then, the story hasn’t so much developed as simply been repeated. Diez and Futbol CentroAmerica both cite Martinez’s Tweet as their source in pieces about the rumor.

But Martinez did expand on his Tweet for El Siglo on March 3, stating Javier Miller (former coach of Sporting San Miguelito, not Murillo’s club in Panama - that would be San Francisco - but credited as the “discoverer” of the player) had first mentioned PSV’s interest in Murillo, and that the story was subsequently confirmed by another source, who described “well-advanced negotiations”.

Murillo appears to have established himself as a starter for RBNY since joining the team last February. He had 22 appearances (20 starts) in all competitions in 2017 for the Red Bulls. RBNY exercised its option to make Murillo’s transfer permanent (he had joined the team on loan from San Francisco) in November. And the 22-year-old has started both games RBNY has played in 2018 - both in CONCACAF Champions League, as it happens - and played the full 90 in each.

RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch would seem to regard Murillo as an important component of his squad, as he can deploy the player either as a conventional right back in a back four, or as the right center-back in a three-man back line. Tactical flexibility looks increasingly to be part of the ideal Marsch is working toward, and Murillo is one of the players who allows the Red Bulls to toggle between different formations with increasing confidence.

This could be a breakout year for Murillo. He can have some confidence that he’ll be on the plane to the 2018 World Cup with Panama this summer, and could well be a starter for his national team at that tournament. A good showing in Russia paired with a starting role for RBNY in MLS might very easily turn some heads at bigger clubs when the summer transfer window opens.

Per Alvaro Martinez, PSV is trying to pre-empt any rush for Murillo’s signature by agreeing a deal with him now, and bringing him to the Netherlands after the World Cup.

At the very least this rumor is a reminder that this is a World Cup year, and players who impress at that tournament will attract a lot of interest and attention. The Red Bulls should have at least a couple of players in Russia (Fidel Escobar is also a contender for the Panama squad), and might well spend the summer at the center of some interesting rumors.