From the outside, the drama surrounding the desired, and apparently failed, transfer of New York Red Bulls playmaker Kaku to Liga MX giant Club America has been one-sidedly contentious.
There’s been critical statements from the attacking midfielder and his agent in Spanish media and on social media about the Red Bulls allegedly reneging on an agreed upon transfer fee. The statements also voice Kaku’s strong desire for a move to Mexico.
It appears Club America has moved on, signing instead Nicolas Benedetti from Colombian squad Deportivo Cali.
Inside of camp, Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said all the noise hasn’t served as a distraction and praised the young Paraguayan international’s professionalism throughout the process.
“Kaku is 100 percent committed the whole time and he’s incredible,” Adams said in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon. “What we learned really through the whole process is how incredible he is, how his commitment level always stayed the same, his professionalism.”
Although Kaku’s Twitter feed may tell a different tale, Armas said the young Designated Player, who arrived last winter after a lengthy recruitment process from Argentina’s Club Huracan, hasn’t let his focus slip and has been a standout in the first few weeks of preseason training.
“His mind is on the New York Red Bulls,” Armas said. “He’s the best player in training. He’s committed, he’s doing all the fitness, he’s getting on with his teammates. That’s what we’re focusing on.”
Armas said he has no issues with Kaku’s desire to move — “He always is going to have aspirations, and he should” — and knows young players in MLS are going to draw interest from clubs in Mexico and elsewhere. That’s played out with Tyler Adams’ transfer to RB Leipzig, Alphonso Davies going from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Bayern Munich an the most recent move of Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron to Newcastle United for a record fee.
“These things come up and it’s a real part of our sport and our growing league as we get good players in and as we get good young players in,” Armas said. “On the inside it wasn’t a distraction because as professionals, the guys who have been around here before, the staff, the people leading this charge, we’ve seen that before. And what we’ve seen before is there’s always interest in good, young players.”
Armas was noncommittal when asked if the club would sign a third Designated Player before the start of the season, but did say the Red Bulls had interest in options in the attacking third.
“The most I’ll say is that we love young players,” Armas said. “We love talented players that fit our philosophy and we have a couple of guys up the field that we’re looking at.”