There has been movement in the NYCFC camp in the last few days. The team has secured an incoming signing with the addition of Monsef Bakrar.
The young striker joins the Boys In Blue through 2026 from Croatian side NK ISTRA. In addition, the club also announced that Tony Alfaro was traded to the LA Galaxy in exchange for General Allocation Money (GAM).
The move would imply that the club will most likely be bringing in a defender to fill the spot left by Alfaro. The moves come right on time, but this leaves Bakrar with a big task in hand. Will he have enough time to adjust and help NYCFC turn things around?
Becoming the reference point
The team has struggled all season, there is no need to deny that. The absence of a reference point in attack has been the squad’s main weakness.
As I said in my previous article, the creative players don’t find that finishing pass to capitalize on plays. Monsef’s arrival could solve that problem if everything goes well.
The Algerian youngster has a physical presence inside the box, something that can make finishing plays a bit easier. He combines this with agility and speed, making him a difficult target for the rival’s defense. If you ask me, these are attributes that only Valentin Castellanos developed. In addition, he also has a very powerful asset on his side, the shot from distance.
Hopefully, he doesn’t lose that asset with NYCFC because the shot from distance is something that the team should look to implement more often. But with or without his individual attacking qualities, he will have to adapt as quickly as possible. The Leagues Cup will most likely be his day-view tournament, so all eyes will be on him if he does, in fact, start his NYCFC career against Atlas.
As many of us know, soccer is a team sport, so Monsef has to build partnerships if he wants to quickly impact the squad. This is where Santiago Rodriguez, Keaton Parks, and Richard Ledezma are key to building a lethal attacking transition.
The three have excellent vision to find passes that break defensive lines. With Bakrar, they will find a recipient for these passes, and adding his movement finally provides that finishing touch to countless goal-scoring chances the team creates game after game. He can provide both Ledezma and Santi Rodriguez with a chance to save stamina in matches as the need to go in attacking third will probably decrease from time to time.
In addition, we could probably see the Keaton/Sands partnership in midfield. The duo did enjoy excellent performances earlier this season. Hopefully, Bakrar helps the squad to have a more consistent tactical system from this point on. If you add that Keaton has some of the best long pass touches, it may work wonders with a player like Bakrar.
Talles Magno’s chance to shine
If anyone has been questioned throughout this season, it has been Talles. His chances at the striker role never came to fruition and showed that he is at his best on the wing.
Unfortunately, teams have managed to get him out of position and minimize his impact in some games. Regardless, many of us know that he has the talent and skill to be a lethal player, all he needs is someone to be at the end of his creative transitions.
A perfect example of this is his time alongside Taty Castellanos, a good and lethal finisher that gave Talles the confidence to bring out his best week after week. Who knows, maybe Bakrar is the striker that Talles needs to help him bring his game back to the levels we know well.
However, there’s a slight chance that his position might be compromised if he continues to have a low profile. Players like Pellegrini, Gabriel Pereira, and Ledezma have all played very well in both wing positions, so Talles has to be alert and ready to shine. Otherwise, the possibility of falling into the bench is far more realistic with Bakrar’s arrival.
Nonetheless, only time will tell how much of an impact Monsef will have on the team. But for the moment, it looks like the final piece of the puzzle has been found.
The long-awaited (literally) striker has arrived. Due to the team’s current circumstances, he arrives under pressure, as he’s signaled to be the player that gets the NYCFC to the playoffs and to the final stages of the upcoming Leagues Cup.
A tough job ahead, but above everything else, there needs to be patience and support behind this new player. It’s tough to come to a new league, so the fanbase will play a key role in how the player develops his confidence in the Big Apple. All that is certain is that we all wish him the best of luck, and surely expect some pictures in Times Square soon.