New York Red Bulls “interested” in Lucas Monzón
According to journalist Fabián Bertolini, the New York Red Bulls are interested in Danubio defender Lucas Monzón. Spanish club Real Betis is also said to be pursuing the Uruguay youth international. Currently on loan at Montevideo Wanderers, his club is “analyzing [the] two possibilities.”
Born in Brazil, Monzón moved to Uruguay at the age of five and came up through the Danubio academy after a brief stint at Juventud. The 19-year-old made his senior debut in August of 2020 against Montevideo City Torque. He played in 19 total matches, experiencing the traditional adjustment struggles faced by young players. Despite being relegated at the end of the season, the club extended his contract through December of 2023.
Last April, the left-footed defender joined Montevideo Wanderers on a loan through July of 2021 with “the option of extension until the end of the season.” He has regularly been in the lineup this season and was briefly isolated from the squad after “having direct contact with COVID-19.”
Last year, Monzón was added to the Uruguay Under-20 national team. He described the call-up as a “beautiful” and “unforgettable” moment. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented the team from competing in any official matches or friendlies. Youth manager Gustavo Ferreyra named him to the roster for a recent camp in advance of the South American Youth Football Championship, currently set for unconfirmed dates in Venezuela.
Monzón is considered a player “with a huge future” by Danubio, which “has been characterized as a training club for footballers who are given the opportunity to play in the first team at an early age.” The 6’1”-ish center back is a hard tackler and skillfully uses his body to shield away defenders, while also serving as a target on set pieces. He is decent in possession, capable of switching the field and passing under pressure. Based on limited highlight footage, his preferred position appears to be on the left side of a three-player back line, the hybrid role requiring the speed to close down wingers and the gritty physicality for handling strikers.
This would be the ideal signing in line with New York’s long-term team building strategy. Monzón is a young, highly regarded center back at the beginning of what could be a steep upward trajectory. The ethos of Red Bull is to sign players before stardom, helping to mold these developing prospects while also taking advantage of their talent and youthful exuberance in the high pressing system.
Where he fits on the roster is a different question. A Uruguayan youth international is probably a step up from a reserve team signing, but there may not be enough room on the senior squad for his addition. Perhaps Monzón will be joining MLS in the winter, at the conclusion of the Uruguayan season.
The international transfer window closes on Thursday, so at least part of the story will be revealed soon enough.