While deadline day wasn’t the barnburner some expected from the New York Red Bulls, the close of the secondary transfer window brought a flurry of news that does answer at least a few questions about the club’s short and long-term plans.
After the day began with the confirmation of Florian Valot’s move to FC Cincinnati, the Red Bulls finally added a piece to their undermanned center back corps in Uruguay youth international Lucas Monzón. Signed form domestic first division side Danubio FC, Monzón becomes the latest member of Red Bulls sporting chief Kevin Thelwell’s loan army, although this particular arrangement will see Monzón committed to New York through at least the end of 2022, with an option to purchase included as part of the deal.
A product of the storied Danubio academy program, Monzón is a left-footed center back with notable long passing skills that fit the vertical distribution system run by Gerhard Struber. Indeed the 19-year-old Monzón appears to further fit the profile Struber discussed over the course of this summer in various statements claiming he wanted a potential long-term replacement for the injured Long in the squad rather than a short-term fix.
As reported by journalist Fabian Bertolini earlier this week, the Red Bulls beat out Spanish club Real Betis for the Brazilian-born Monzón’s signature. The relatively high profile of both Monzón and the media campaign surrounding his announcement as well as the barren depth chart for the Red Bulls at center back mean the Uruguayan is likely to feature for the first team quickly…quickly meaning whenever it might be that he completes visa paperwork.
But in the meantime hot stove season is far from over for the New York backline. According to new reports out of Cyprus, the previously-cancelled deal sending Amro Tarek to Apollon Limassol might be back on. While the team would not be able to use it on any more incoming foreign transfers following Thursday’s deadline, the salary relief offered by Tarek’s exit would give the club crucial breathing room heading into an offseason where numerous decisions about whether to render loans permanent must be made.
One still-uncompleted transfer that remains perhaps the most puzzling of any business done so far by Thelwell is that of Steven Sserwadda. The Uganda youth international midfielder was given a formal farewell by his hometown club Kampala Central City Authority FC late last month, but no official statement has been made by the Red Bulls regarding his status with the club. While Sserwadda’s pedigree and the failure to complete his official transfer before Thursday’s deadline leaves him almost certain to start with the Red Bulls II reserves in USL, the first team’s struggles to create consistent chances in recent weeks could use some help.
But in the meantime the Red Bulls have desperately needed any type of help at center back since Aaron Long’s injury in May, and they finally got some. While Monzón’s youth and relative inexperience might prevent him from being the ideal signing in central defense, his skillset will almost certainly be an improvement over the hard-working-but-limited play of natural fullback Tom Edwards. Considering the dire backline situation Monzón has been recruited to fix was still enough to earn a clean sheet Wednesday night, the Uruguayan’s presence could prove to be the move that helps secure and stimulate a team that has allowed injuries and upheaval to send them into a summer funk.
For more details about newly-signed Red Bull Lucas Monzón, be sure to read Ross Haley’s report on the center back’s past and potential future.