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Red Bulls: Kaku “remains under contract” despite his premature transfer announcement


Paraguayan national team midfielder Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero has long been the subject of transfer rumors since his arrival in Major League Soccer, so when an announcement was made on Monday that he had been sold, there wasn’t much reason not to believe the news.

Apparently there was a reason, because according to the New York Red Bulls, Kaku is still under contract and has not been sold.

Kaku took to social media on Monday to announce his transfer to Saudi Arabian side Al-Taawoun, and Al-Taawoun followed shortly with its own video announcing the signing.

The absence of a corresponding Red Bulls announcement seemed odd, and the Red Bulls finally emerged with a statement on Tuesday, making it clear that they have not sold Kaku:

“We are aware of the announcement made by Altaawoun FC. The New York Red Bulls exercised a club option in Kaku’s Major League Soccer contract for the 2021 season, and he remains under contract with Major League Soccer and the New York Red Bulls.  

So what is going on exactly? On the surface, it appears Kaku’s representatives are attempting to challenge the validity of the option year exercised by the Red Bulls, or at least threaten to in order to expedite a transfer. It is a maneuver that has been tried before, and on both occasions the player in question wound up leaving MLS via transfer.

In 2014, then-Vancouver Whitecaps forward Camilo Sanvezzo forced a transfer to Liga MX side Queretaro when he joined the Mexican club before an agreement on a transfer had been agreed to. The Whitecaps hadn’t intended to sell Sanvezzo, but ultimately wound up selling him for what the Whitecaps called a record fee at the time.

In 2018, Canadian striker Cyle Larin abruptly left Orlando City and joined Turkish side Besiktas despite Orlando City having exercised an option year on Larin’s MLS contract. Larin went through a medical, and even was spotted training with Besiktas before any transfer had been completed, with Besiktas attempting to portray the move as a free transfer. Ultimately, Orlando City and Besiktas agreed on an undisclosed fee for Larin.

Kaku appears to be attempting a similar tactic, which could lead to a messy battle as the Red Bulls fight to either keep the playmaker, or ensure it receives the transfer amount they believe Kaku is worth.

Complicating things further is a looming potential MLS lockout as labor negotiations between the league and MLS Players Union reach a stalemate.

What happens next? If history is any guide, the Red Bulls and Al-Taawoun will ultimately agree on a fee, and the Red Bulls will need to consider the possibility that it won’t be able to sell Kaku for anywhere near the $6.2 million they paid for Kaku when he was first acquired from Huracan in 2018.

The alternative is an ugly legal battle, which is probably not what MLS is looking for as it faces the prospects of a lockout.


  1. Man, you people are cynical haters. Any chance to spout your glass half empty ideology huh? Kaku has not been a “fan” of playing for RBNY since Day 1. It was a messy affair coming in and will be going out. Nice player but just not the right fit.
    As for the club, I’m a fan since 2000. We obviously haven’t won the Cup but we’ve had some good teams. This new (old?) philosophy is not going to keep us in the postseason mix. The academy is still producing talent and we can field a representative squad, yet I feel as if RBNY are being treated like the unwanted step kids, as opposed to Salz and Leipz.

  2. You want to know why peoiple get excited about selling players to Europe? Cause they are American.

    Kaku being sold. Not one comment, like this will be great for the RedBulls.
    Where are the I have been a NY fan since ’96 and I am in favor of this. They dont follow MLS, they dont care about soccer here as much as there.

    Also true, Philly will not be good next year and Seattle is following them….but at least Seattle if they get Morris will spend it to win midseason.

  3. Typical Red Bulls. Other than their youth programs–which are in decline relative to other MLS franchises but were once storied–their personnel management is near the bottom of the barrel.

    Red Bull Europe has no interest in developing this franchise. Their only goal is to develop a few youth players and pass them on to their European franchises. Caden Clark already has his exit pass. Want to live in Leipzig or Salzburg? Go to Red Bulls. Want a chance at other clubs…avoid Red Bulls.


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