Report: Houllier reaches out to Brazilian midfielder Juninho Pernambucano


It seems Gerard Houllier is looking to do more than simply trim the Red Bulls roster.

“Futnet” out of Brazil reports the Red Bulls Global Director of Soccer traveled out to the Soccerex facility in Rio de Janiero to speak with 37-year-old attacking midfielder Juninho Pernambucano.

Known as a dynamic playmaker with a knack for scoring free kicks, Juninho has become a legend with his current club Vasco da Gama. In two stints with the club, he has appeared 365 times while netting 82 goals. In between, he became a vital fixture with French club Lyon, appearing in 350 matches and scoring 100 goals while helping lead the side to 7 consecutive Ligue 1 titles.

Juninho has a history with Houllier. The French boss named the Brazilian playmaker team captain during his time at the helm of Lyon. Since then, Juninho has played for Qatari’s Al-Gharafa and most recently at Vasco where he has compiled 22 goals in 70 appearances since 2011.

Futnet does say Juninho leans towards remaining with his club who are undecided on the veterans future and unwilling to move him to another club within Brazil’s Campeonato. Vasco sits 6th in the league table and rounds off their year against Fluminense on Sunday.

New York has long sought after a dynamic distributor in the middle. Think the soon-to-be 38 year old Juninho the right man for the job?

Share your thoughts below.

  • patrick

    christ, so NY would have a 33 year old Tim Cahill, a 35 year old Henry and 37 possibly 38 year old Juninho? I wonder if Matthaus is still available…..


      • Pete Chicago

        Nope. The Cosmos picked them up along with Cabanas, Beckenbauer, and Hurbert Berkemeier. The Fire have also retained the rights to Karl Heinz Granitza and Ingo Peter.


  • Camjam

    In a weird way, I actually kind of like this. I mean, the guy can still play for sure. He was tearing up ligue 1 even at 35, and since they want a stop-gap for 2 years while they wait for Kaka, why not? as long as they’re not paying him a ridiculous amount, go for it.


    • QuakerOtis

      I agree. Not NYRB fan, so maybe it’s truly academic to me, but the guy can play. The key part would be the money. If he comes cheap (not “relatively” cheap, but cheap cheap) then this would not be bad at all. Whether or not that happens…


      • Camjam

        he’s 30 bro. If you haven’t heard, that world cup in 2014 is in Brazil, and he wants to play in it. MLS could do a lot worse than picking up Kaka at 32.


  • Eugene

    Oh he is QUITE good, but who knows how much he has left in the tank at 37. He was the heart of Lyon while he was there though. Who knows, hard to evaluate what he’s got at 37 from thousands of miles away. Beckham still brings it at 37. Higuain flew completely under the radar and no one really thought he would be so good in MLS. Guillermo Barros Schelotto was quite old when he came to MLS, but made the difference between an average team and a championship at Columbus.


    • krazymunky

      Higuan is 28 and not 30+

      so hes not in the same category as the other players you mention


    • anon

      Schelotto played in MLS from age 34 to 37, Blanco played in MLS from age 34 to 36. So both left MLS before the age that Juninho is right now.


      • Camjam

        I think his point was just that there are examples, even in MLS, of older players who still can play. He still is playing well in Brazil (which is a good league), so it looks like good play to see he he can still play 1 more good year.


  • John

    Super. Another old, over the hill player that will only play half the games, at best! We need young AMERICAN players, coming out of college, not these has-beens.


    • Edwin in LA

      Young players for Football standards already have 2 or 3 seasons being a pro and getting minutes at 21 or 22…..college game only provides like 3 or 5 pro ready guys tops and not a great deal of them maintain a good level or evolve to say National Team level


    • Tyler K

      You’re right about the need for more Americans but what we need is less college soccer players and more coming through from the academy system directly to MLS even if they’re going on loan to NASL or USL clubs before they are ready to play in the first tier


  • Al17

    Juninho can still play, has won just about everywhere he’s played and he wouldn’t consider coming to Red Bulls if he wasn’t up to it. Having said that I’d hate to see him line up against the Fire. He’s got serious skill and can make others around him better. To hell with his age, in his case it’s just a number, the man can flat out play. Smart move by Houllier if he can get him.


  • WK

    What did anybody really expect, after they put Houiller in charge. Look at the way he helped Aston Villa to a new low- now he’ll do the same for NY.


    • Jspech

      Sorry Bro according to the map of the US of A New York City, in te State of New York does not have an MLS team.


  • Demba Pa

    Juninho has been Vasco’s most dangerous player this past season. He still performs at a very high level and has had surprisingly few injuries. Still….. 38. will turn 39 during the season if he signs.


    • Camjam

      Not that it makes a difference but he’s 37, won’t be 39 til early 2014. IT is still up there though.


  • Bellus Ludas

    The Brazilian league is quite physical. If he can still perform well there, he can get it done in MLS. Would love to have a younger Brazilian of his quality, but MLS still do not have the $$$.


  • James

    Houllier clearly didn’t watch the games if he thinks we need another old washed up player. We don’t have any speed (especially in the midfield) except for Lloyd Sam but the guy looks to have a real problem with injuries (in his only two appearances of more than 45 minutes he injured himself) which is something this team doesn’t need. To be honest I don’t care if the players we sign are American or foreign, but we have to surround these veterans in Henry and Cahill with young and exciting talent so we can complement there skills but at the same time make up for the fact that they have old legs.


  • Naked Animals

    I wish they would sign younger players, there is pretty good talent in central and south america. A 38 year old who is likely to play only one season, and possibly gets injured seems like a waste. New York Red Bulls haven’t even hired a new head coach yet.


  • Sean

    A one year deal while the club is reshaped may not be so bad. But, if he really wants fans to care about the club, bringing in a guy who is 37 is not the way to do it.


  • Adam M.

    Dear everyone who hasn’t seen Vacso recently: Juninho is playing at a very high level in a compeition much tougher than MLS and he remains a deadly weapon on free kicks. No, he won’t be the face of the franchise for a generation if they get him. But he would instantly be one of the most skilled, able players in the league, with oodles of world class (and Cup) experience, a good marketing get given the region, and, by the way, distribution and service to Henry wouldn’t be a problem for the rest of Henry’s stay. You obviously grab Kaka if you can, but if Juninho is the best you can do, you don’t hesitate.


  • matt

    seriously, with all the brazilian restaurants in ironbound, red bulls should have recruited 3 or 4 top brazilians by now.


    • Jspech

      No sh*t! Always puzzled me as to why this team never did the same thing. Just a lack of understanding of their true market. Having NY in their name, while playing in NJ has given this organization an identity crisis. They aught to go back to simply ” Metrostars” & just sow the freaking Red Bull logo on the shirt. Never understood why this was the case to begging w/


  • Jacknut

    Oh please please please let this be true. He’ll be great for the first 6 weeks of the season, but once the summer and travel sets in he will wilt. And he won’t get the protection from the refs here that he gets in Brazil.


    • GW

      Mr. nut,

      I wasn’t aware that Brazilians wilt in hot and humid playing conditions.

      I didn’t know Brazil, where this guy now plays is such a small country with short travel distances.


  • los_del_djemba

    Brasilian press confirm that he is traveling to meet with Red Bull this Tuesday.
    Apparently he has a daughter that lives in the area. The few articles mentioned he would be traveling to NYC with his family for them to recon the area as well. Vasco are trying to renew his contract but they go through cyclical financial woes and often go months without paying players’ monthly salaries so surely the stability at Red Bull would be a positive influencing factor. I follow the Brasileirao and Juninho P. has been the best Vasco player along with Dede. I can see him being a Djorkaeff kind of player.


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