By IVES GALARCEP
The New York Red Bulls took the next step in their roster transformation on Monday with the announcement of the signing of Brazilian midfielder Juninho Pernambucano.
The former Lyon star turns 38 before the start of the 2013 season, but the Red Bulls will be hoping he can provide the creative midfield skill the team has been lacking in the middle of the field since the days of Amado Guevara and Youri Djorkaeff.
“Juninho is a world class player who our Global Sporting Director, Gerard Houllier, and I have known and admired for many years,” said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh. “Aside from being a top dead ball specialist and a tremendous talent, Juninho is a fantastic professional both on and off the field. He is in great physical shape and we think he can make a positive impact for us in 2013.”
Juninho’s age raises question marks about what sort of impact he can have, but he is coming off a strong season with Brazilian side Vasco de Gama, where he generated seven goals and eight assists.
A free-kick specialist considered one of the best in soccer history at scoring on set pieces, Juninho is likely to step into the heart of the Red Bulls midfield where he could partner with the likes of Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty.
Juninho’s arrival could also help the Red Bulls become an even more attractive destination for Brazilian star Kaka, who is close friends with Juninho. The Red Bulls also have Kaka’s brother, Digao, on the team roster for 2013.
What do you think of the signing? See him making an impact? Think he could help lure Kaka to the Red Bulls?
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