Red Bulls finally sign 'Kaku' Gamarra as young designated player
The New York Red Bulls finally completed the signing of rising Argentine star Alejandro "Kaku" Romero Gamarra on Friday, after weeks of uncertainty.
The 23-year-old winger, who joins the Red Bulls as a young designated player and will wear the No. 10 shirt, moves from Atletico Huracan, who had announced his $6.25 million transfer in December.
But the deal was held up while lawyers involved in the transfer refuted their payment for their participation, leading the Argentina club's president to express his frustration last month.
The details finally settled, Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said the club was "very pleased to reach an agreement with all parties and complete this deal."
"When we identified Kaku, he quickly became our top off-season target," Hamlett said. "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."
Kaku scored once with three assists in the Argentine top flight last season. He previously played with Argentina at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup.
"Kaku is a very exciting player and a great person," coach Jesse Marsch said. "He is a creative, dynamic attacker who can change the game by scoring and setting up teammates. He has an excellent grasp of the game and I think he will thrive in our style of play. He is ecstatic to be joining us and we can't wait to get to work."
Though the Red Bulls did not confirm details of the transfer, the deal -- as reported by Huracan in December -- is by far the largest in the Red Bulls' history, surpassing the $2.2 million signing of Gonzalo Veron in 2015. Huracan said it would retain 20 percent of any future sale for Gamarra.
Atlanta United received $50,000 in general allocation money from New York for Gamarra's discovery rights.
The move for Gamarra continues the modest reversal of parent company Red Bull's unwillingness to spend big on its MLS team over the past three years. The club went from the third-highest MLS team salary in 2014 to the bottom the next year, and has been 14th the past two seasons.
The Red Bulls have room for new designated players after trading Sacha Kljestan to Orlando and declining Veron's option. Veron was selected by D.C. United in the re-entry draft but ultimately decided to sign for Independiente in Argentina.
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