New York City FC Bolsters Attack with Signing of Algerian Forward Mounsef Bakrar
New York City FC has made a significant addition to their attacking lineup by officially signing Mounsef Bakrar, an Algerian youth international forward, from Croatian top-flight team NK Istra 1961. The club announced the signing on Tuesday, emphasizing the bolstering of their offensive capabilities.
At the age of 22, Bakrar has joined NYCFC through the league's U22 Initiative and is contracted until 2026, with the option of extending it to 2027. With a record of 18 goals and three assists in 84 appearances for his previous clubs, Bakrar made a breakthrough at Algerian side ES Sétif before his move to Istra.
Expressing his excitement, David Lee, the sporting director of NYCFC, welcomed Bakrar to the team in an official statement. Lee acknowledged Bakrar's talent and dynamism as a forward, highlighting the positive impact he is expected to have on the roster. Additionally, Lee mentioned the importance of Bakrar's arrival in providing quality and depth to the team as they approach the latter stages of the season and move towards the playoffs.
Bakrar's arrival addresses a long-standing need for NYCFC, as the team has lacked a reliable center forward since Taty Castellanos went on loan to LaLiga's Girona FC during the 2022-23 European season, and Heber was traded to the Seattle Sounders FC during the offseason.
Throughout this season, head coach Nick Cushing has experimented with various players in the No. 9 position, as NYCFC has struggled to score goals, averaging just over one goal per game. While Talles Magno, Gabriel Pereira, Santiago Rodríguez, Matías Pellegrini, and Richard Ledezma have all played vital roles in the attacking third, none of them possess the natural qualities of a center forward.
Expressing his enthusiasm, Bakrar expressed his delight at joining New York City FC, praising the club's exciting and attacking style of football that aligns with his own playing style. He conveyed his eagerness to contribute on the field and assist the team in their pursuit of trophies, highlighting his anticipation of playing in the vibrant city of New York.
Having secured a league title in 2021, NYCFC aims to secure their eighth consecutive Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearance. The addition of Bakrar comes during the Secondary Transfer Window, which is open until August 2, providing an opportunity for further reinforcements to the squad.