In an agreement first first reported by Once a metro, the New York Red Bulls have confirmed the signing of 22-year-old Malian midfielder Youba Diarra from sister club Red Bull Salzburg on a full-season loan. Diarra will occupy an international spot on the list and the terms of the permanent purchase option have not been disclosed.
New York head coach Gerhard Struber, who has extensive experience in the academy and the Salzburg reserve system, said there is an “advantage” in Diarra’s familiarity with the Red tactical system. Bull, which should help him integrate quickly. New York sporting director Kevin Thelwell has said he expects Diarra to be an “addition to our midfield group” ahead of a 2021 season in which Venezuela international Cristian Cásseres Jr, Club captain Sean Davis and recent designated player Dru Yearwood are expected to dominate the depth card in the middle of the park.
Diarra joined Salzburg in January 2018 as part of a group of four members from the national leagues of Mali, signature of the Bamako Olympic Yeelen. Thanks to a combination of planning but also injury setbacks, Diarra spent his European career on a series of loans to Wiener Neustädter and TSV Hartberg of Austria as well as German second division FC St Pauli. These relays were interspersed with spells with the reserve team of FC Liefering, formerly managed by a certain Gerhard Struber.
Diarra’s current deal with Salzburg lasts until May 2024, after a contract extension in August 2019. At the time, he was considered “”an important player for the futureBy sporting director Christoph Freund and the lack of an announced permanent purchase option implies that he may have more of a long-term future in Salzburg than recent loans from New York veterans such as Omer Damari and Marc Rzatkowski. He’s also notable given Salzburg’s other loan from New York this offseason, Brazilian goalkeeper Carlos Coronel, was signed with a permanent option announced.
With scouting data and reports showing a trend in side passes and deep positioning, Diarra is expected to be the first dedicated defensive midfielder New York has deployed in several years, having seen more technical and offensive players like as Davis and Cásseres occupy the deepest midfield role as well as the floating and forefoot style of former star Tyler Adams. With the upcoming installation of Gerhard Struber’s teeming midfield tactics, Diarra offers additional depth and flexibility in addition to his tactical variety. Struber has at least known the player from brief overlaps at Liefering, while New York assistant coach Bernd Eibler might be even more aware of what the Malian has to offer. having worked as a video analyst at Hartberg during the aforementioned loan from Diarra.
But as Thelwell stated, this movement (organized by Diarra’s agent, former Malian international and Tottenham and Sevilla striker Fredi Kanouté) is one intended to complement the current team rather than changing the face of it. Although the Red Bulls team met for the preseason in North Jersey this morning, there are still almost two months until the games are played, plenty of time for rumors of transfer talks to catch fire in an offseason where New York showed a willingness to make bold decisions quickly.