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Argentine winger Julián Fernández in talks to join NYCFC: Reports

New York City FC might have already found a replacement for the recently-departed Gabriel Pereira, as new reports link 19-year-old Argentine winger Julián Fernández with a transfer from Vélez Sarsfield to NYCFC.

César Luis Merlo says that NYCFC have “advanced talks” to sign Fernández, who primarily plays a right winger and has scored three goals in 20 appearances for Vélez during the 2023 Argentine Primera División season.

Of note from Merlo’s tweet is the final line, that Fernández himself “made it known that his desire is to take advantage of this opportunity.”

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Gianluca Poggi, a journalist who covers Vélez, reports that “details are finalized” to sell Fernández to NYCFC for a sum of $6.5 million, with Vélez also set to receive a 15% sell-on clause.

News of Fernández’s potential arrival comes just days after NYCFC sold Gabriel Pereira to Al-Rayyan in Qatar for a reported eight-figure transfer sum, a move that left a glaring hole on the right side of NYCFC’s attack. Pereira’s departure also opened up another U22 initiative roster slot for NYCFC, which would appear likely to be the MLS roster mechanism used for signing Fernández.

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Fernández would be expected to take ownership of that right-wing role vacated by Pereira, and NYCFC will hope the teenager from Buenos Aires ups his goal-contribution numbers playing in MLS. Fernández has scored three goals and added two assists in his 45 total appearances for Vélez since making his professional debut at age 18 during the team’s 2022 campaign.

The signing of Fernández would be a third new addition made by NYCFC sporting director David Lee during the MLS Secondary Transfer Window, which closes on August 2nd. Striker Mounsef Bakrar and central defender Birk Risa have come in already, while Pereira and defender Tony Alfaro have been sent out, with NYCFC also finally cashing in and selling Taty Castellanos to Lazio for up to €20 million.

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Fernández is young and has yet to really break out while playing in his home country, but also hasn’t been afforded consistent chances as a part of Vélez’s starting XI. He only started 19 of a possible 53 matches across his two seasons with Vélez, so the 6-foot-tall winger will be hoping a move to MLS and NYCFC translates to a starter’s workload.

Those starts would likely come at a cost to fellow Argentine Matías Pellegrini, who has most often been tasked with replacing Pereira in NYCFC lineups. Matí ad started on the right in Nick Cushing’s first NYCFC lineup post-Pereira, when he played in the Leagues Cup opener against Atlas FC.

Fernández looks like a promising-yet-unproven young attacker, and NYCFC appear willing to roll the dice on him as they look to find a spark to improve their performances during the team’s forgettable 2023 season. YouTube highlight compilations don’t tell much of a story of a player, but they are still always worth a watch, as is the case with the one below rounding up some of Fernández’s skills.