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New York Red Bulls finally sign Argentine midfielder “Kaku”

The saga of signing Kaku is finally over and New York Red Bulls fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

On Friday afternoon, the Red Bulls announced they completed the transfer of Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra from Club Atletico Huracan in Argentina pending receipt of the player’s P-1 visa and ITC.

The 23-year-old attacking midfielder is the Red Bulls first Young Designated Player and occupies an international roster spot.

Specifics of the transfer were not released, but it was reported in late December the fee was more than $6 million.

“We are very pleased to reach an agreement with all parties and complete this deal,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a press release. “When we identified Kaku, he quickly became our top offseason 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 a great young man to our team. We look forward to seeing him continue to grow as part of the New York Red Bulls.”

A native of Ciudadela, Argentina, Gamarra is in his fifth professional season, signing with Huracan’s senior team in July, 2013. Gamarra, who helped lead the club to promotion to the Argentine first division in 2015, has eight goals and 13 assists in 95 appearances.

He competed for Argentina at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, appearing in three matches with one start.

“Kaku is a very exciting player and a great person,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said in a statement. “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.”

Huracan appeared to confirm the reported $6.25 million sale in December, which included 20 percent of any future transfer for the winger. But then an Argentine player agent blocked the deal, claiming he was still owed compensation and the soap opera ensued.

Several weeks of painful silence for Red Bulls fans followed with the occasional “Where’s Waldo” inspired sightings on social media, from Kaku arriving at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to him having a team meal with the Red Bulls during preseason.

That finally came to an end Friday afternoon, but when Red Bulls fans will get their first glimpse of Kaku in game action remains to be seen.

He is unlikely to be included in Marsch’s 18-man roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League matches against Olimpia of Honduras and his debut could come March 10 when the Red Bulls host the Portland Timbers in their MLS regular season opener.

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