The noise on the outside did not affect the work on the inside.
That was the message New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas delivered on Friday when speaking about the transfer saga involving Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero Gamarra. Kaku had tried to secure a move to Liga MX’s Club America during the past couple of weeks and his agent was very outspoken in the press to try and get the Red Bulls to agree to a transfer, but none of that affected how the midfielder or MLS side went about its business on the field during the opening stages of preseason.
“We are pleased with Kaku and he’s only been professional as that whole thing came and went,” said Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas. “I don’t get caught up in the emotion or disappointed. 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. On the inside it wasn’t a distraction because as professionals — the people leading this charge — we’ve seen that before. What we’ve seen before is that there’s always interest in good young players.
“Of course, it’s always an aspiration for young players to move on sometimes and go to big club, but it never distracted anything we were doing here and Kaku is 100 percent committed the whole time and he’s incredible.”
With the winter transfer window in Mexico now closed, Club America will not be able to try and sign Kaku again until the summer. While Kaku will remain a Red Bulls player until at least then, you probably could not blame anyone for thinking he might not enter the upcoming MLS season fully focused on the task at hand. After all, other players in similar situations have let the breakdown in negotiations affect their psyche and their play has suffered as a result.
The Red Bulls are not concerned about that happening with their 24-year-old playmaker, however.
“I’m not worried at all because I don’t think we can all see where his mind is other than what we’re seeing every day, which is his mind is on the New York Red Bulls,” said Armas. “He’s the best player in training, he’s committed, he’s doing all the fitness, he’s getting on with his teammates and that’s what we’re focusing on. We shouldn’t focus on the comings and goings. It’s so part of it that these things aren’t even talking points elsewhere in the world.
“It comes, it goes. Things either happen or they don’t, and we deal with it as it comes. We have a committed player in Kaku who is always going to have aspirations and he should, but he’s fully committed and he seems happy to be here and we are thrilled to have him.”
Kaku may not be going anywhere this winter, but he could potentially have a new teammate and a fellow Designated Player joining him in New York. The Red Bulls have had an open DP slot for more than a year, much to the chagrin of many of their fans, but might be filling it at long last with another attacking weapon.
“We’re looking at a few things right now that could happen,” said Armas. “I don’t know how likely it is, but we definitely have some things that we’re interested in that are exciting. The most I’ll say is that we love young players, we love talented players that fit our philosophy, and we have a couple guys up the field that we’re looking at.”