All signs pointed to some real, hard news in the offing. But little did we know that this Valentine’s Day would fill us with more excitement that even Fifty Shades Darker could (he's just so DREAMY!). That’s right: Yangel Herrera is a New York City FC player for 2017.
The defensive midfielder, who joined Manchester City from Atletico Venezuela at the European transfer deadline in January, adds needed bite to a squad heavy on attacking-oriented offseason signings. But don’t let his positional designation fool you: Herrera, even at 19 years of age, has displayed notable skill and vision playing the ball. And he isn’t against taking a long-distance shot, either-- check out the first goal you see in the video at the top of the page!
"I’m looking forward to playing under Patrick Vieira as he’s someone who played my position and I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from him. I want to absorb all the good things from Patrick and the other players," he told the club in its official press release.
While it is not yet confirmed as to whether or not Herrera’s price tag will require that he take up New York City’s last designated player spot — Manchester City reportedly paid over $3,000,000 for his services — we have heard some welcome whispers on good authority:
If NYCFC can get away with bringing in Herrera and Club Leon attacking man Maxi Moralez without sacrificing that DP spot for either, then we’d just as soon kiss Claudio Reyna and David Lee right in the mouth-space. We’re serious.
Here’s what Reyna had to say to NYCFC.com about the newest Boy in Blue:
"Yangel is recognized as an extremely promising young player in South America and we’re looking forward to seeing him develop during his time with us in New York. We feel NYCFC will be a fantastic place for him to play, particularly working with Patrick Vieira, who has excellent experience working with young players."
Indeed, Vieira’s supermassively decorated career as a hard-charging, skillful, dynamic defensive mid may as well make him the perfect Jedi Master to oversee the training of this young padawan.
"He’s a tactically intelligent midfielder who is strong in the tackle and reads the game well," Vieira said. "Yangel also has good passing range and spatial awareness, which is crucial for a player in his position."
NYCFC fans won’t get to see their newest midfielder right away, unfortunately. Not only is he still working on nailing down a visa; he’s on international duty with the Venezuela Under-20s as they fight for a spot in the U20 World Cup at the South American Championships.
But if the early word is any indication, this is a talent well worth the wait.