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End of Watch: Red Bulls announce signing of Kaku

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It’s finally over.

The long-awaited announcement of the signing of Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero Gamarra came on Friday as the New York Red Bulls made the transfer official. While the details of the transfer are undisclosed, Kaku has signed as the first Young Designated Player in club history.

Kaku joins from Argentine club Huracan, where he had been a member of the first team since 2013. He replaces fellow Argentine Designated Player Gonzalo Veron on the roster and will be expected to help replace the production of assist leader and playmaker Sacha Kljestan in midfield.

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“We are very pleased to reach an agreement with all parties and complete this deal,” sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “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.”

The signing ends a months-long saga in which there were reports of multiple agreements to bring Kaku to New York, only for it to fall through.

Last December, Huracan posted that the Red Bulls and it had agreed on a $6.25 million transfer fee for Kaku, but the deal was held up for various reasons until Friday.

The Argentine youth international has been given the No. 10 shirt.

There is joy in Harrison, N.J. today. Mighty Red Bulls completed the deal.

MLS Reports: Red Bulls on verge of Argentine signing, and more

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The New York Red Bulls are in the market for a new playmaker, and it appears they’ve found from South America.

The Red Bulls are on the verge of signing Alejandro “El Kaku” Romero Gamarra, a 22-year-old attacking midfielder for Argentine side Huracan, for a $7 million transfer fee according to a report from TYC. The Argentine native played three times for the Argentina Under-20 Men’s National Team at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup and has played in Huracan’s first team since 2013.

All that’s remaining is for El Kaku to sign personal terms with the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls reportedly beat out Cruz Azul for the transfer of the Romero.

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If Romero signs for the Red Bulls, he’d replace Sacha Kljestan and countryman Gonzalo Veron, who was selected by D.C. United in the MLS Re-Entry Draft this week, and be following in the footsteps of MLS MVP and fellow Buenos Aires native Diego Valeri to MLS, albeit without European experience beforehand.

Here are some more reports, news and notes from around MLS:

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MLS Cup Playoffs: Weekend Preview

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The Seattle Sounders booked their place in the MLS Cup Conference Finals, but there’s three places up for grabs that will be decided this Sunday.

Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew take advantages into their second-leg bouts with the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC, respectively, while the Portland Timbers head back home to host the Houston Dynamo coming off a scoreless draw.

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TFC is edging closer to a second-consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference final after their 2-1 win at the Red Bulls while the Crew ran riot past NYCFC at home, leaving Patrick Vieira’s season on the brink.

Here’s a look at what we can expect to see in the final three second-leg matchups of the conference semifinals.

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New York Red Bulls mulling over deal for former Leeds man Paul Connolly

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New York Red Bulls are weighing up a deal for former Leeds defender Paul Connolly, who is looking for a new club after The Peacocks released the 29 year old earlier this summer.

The 6’1″ right back came through the youth ranks at Plymouth Argyle, helping them achieve promotion to the First Division (i.e. The Championship) in 2003-04. He left Plymouth for Derby in 2008, where he finished the season with 49 appearances in all competitions.

The next season proved a difficult one for Connolly, who fell out of favor with manager Nigel Clough, eventually being loaned to Sheffield United for a seven match spell in 2010 before being transfered to Leeds later that summer.

In his two years at Leeds, Connolly made 58 appearances, fluctuating between spells in the Starting XI and spells on the bench. Injuries and a loss of form resulted in Connolly being transfer listed twice, joining Portsmouth for a four game spell in 2012 and Preston North End for 15 matches this past spring.

Currently out of contract, Connolly would be a free signing for the Red Bulls and could add some brawn and depth to the right side of coach Mike Petke’s defense where Brandon Barklage and Kosuke Kimura have split time this season.

 

A number of English clubs are also keeping tabs on Connolly’s situation.