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Report: New York Red Bulls one of MLS teams inquiring about USMNT midfielder Johnny Cardoso

Cincinnati reportedly also in for New Jersey-born, Brazilian-bred talent

Internacional v América de Cali - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020
The Red Bulls reportedly looked into the possibility of signing Johnny Cardoso (right) this summer.
Photo by Silvio Avila-Pool/Getty Images

In addition to attacker Elias Manoel, the New York Red Bulls apparently tried to sign another Brazil-based player during the previous transfer window.

According to the JB Filho Repórter YouTube channel, the club and FC Cincinnati made an inquiry but not an official “proposal” for Johnny Cardoso. The 20-year-old midfielder competes with Sporting Club Internacional in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and is on the fringes of the United States Men’s National Team. GZH confirmed the report, noting that the Brazilian outfit intends to keep him in the fold with designs of eventually selling him to Europe.

Johnny – full name: João Lucas de Souza Cardoso – was born in Denville, New Jersey before moving to Brazil at three months old. He became a star in the Internacional youth set-up, initially playing as a striker. Over four seasons, he has made 88 combined appearances for the two-time Copa Libertadores champions. His current contract lasts through the end of 2024, with Colorado (The Red) clearly in no great rush to sell him, reportedly turning down an offer of six million euro last summer. There’s also that pesky buyout clause, totaling sixty million euro.

The benefits of adding a player of his caliber are obvious. Johnny’s profile is rising, with the midfielder sure to attract a lucrative European transfer fee in the future. Clubs in Major League Soccer could avoid using an international roster spot. While currently a starter, situations can change, with GZH stating that “interest may increase depending on the player’s use.”

Johnny is a “defensive midfielder with attacking tendencies,” known as a “steering wheel.” He is “confident with the ball at his feet” and “sprays [passes] around the pitch” with a high degree of accuracy. The 20-year-old would be an asset in Gerhard Struber’s vertical attacking style, ideally finding streaking wingers and strikers after regaining possession.

Alas, anything resembling a move appears dead, another transfer market inquisition that went unmet, a glimmer in the eye of the blogosphere. These stories tend to filter out in the month after a window, as there is little incentive to keep details quiet. Perhaps the Red Bulls will make another run at Johnny during the winter, but his recent assumption of a starting role at Internacional and call-up to Gregg Berhalter’s latest roster may raise his profile well past the purview of any MLS club.