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New York Red Bulls transfer Michael Amir Murillo to Belgium’s RSC Anderlecht

A regular starter an MLS All-Star in his first two seasons, Murillo’s form slipped in his third season with the Red Bulls

Aug 31, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; Colorado Rapids forward Nicolas Mezquida (20) plays the ball against New York Red Bulls defender Michael Murillo (62)during the second half at Red Bull Arena. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Michael Amir Murillo’s long sought-after European transfer is finally a reality with the New York Red Bulls sending the Panamanian right back to RSC Anderlecht of the Belgian First Division, the club announced Friday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. A source with knowledge of the negotiations told Pro Soccer USA the transfer fee was “very high six figures,” with the chance of it breaking the million-dollar mark due to performance or the sell-on fee. The Red Bulls will get close to the maximum $750,000 in allocation money.

“We thank Amir for his contributions to our club over the last three years,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “Amir has continued to grow as a player and person since he joined us as a 20-year-old, and we wish him the best of luck in Europe.”

“The allocation money we receive as funds from this transfer will be invested back into improving our roster in this transfer window,” Hamlett added.

Murillo made an immediate impact with the Red Bulls when he arrived via a transfer from San Francisco in Panama. Named the club’s Newcomer of the Year in 2017, Murillo was a regular starter in each of his first two seasons and was named an MLS All-Star in 2018.

Murillo’s form slipped in 2019 and he was pushed out of his starting spot late in the season by the combination of Kyle Duncan and Rece Buckmaster. He was out of the starting XI for eight of the final 11 regular season matches and didn’t make the game day 18-man roster for the first round playoff loss to the Philadelphia Union.

“This is a great opportunity for Amir,” Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said. “On behalf of the coaching staff I’d like to thank Amir for his commitment to the team during his time here. We wish him all the best and we will be rooting for him.”

Murillo was previously linked with PSV Eindhoven, among other reported European suitors. He had one year left on his contract that paid him $113,753 in 2019, according to the MLS Players Association.

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