REPORT: NYCFC linked with defender Thiago Martins

Shonan Bellmare v Yokohama F.Marinos - J.League Meiji Yasuda J1
Shonan Bellmare v Yokohama F.Marinos - J.League Meiji Yasuda J1 / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

As NYCFC cap off the pleasantries following their triumphant MLS Cup win in 2021, the club has officially started gearing up for a busy 2022 in which they will compete in not just the regular MLS season, but the CONCACAF Champions League and Campeones Cup as well. This huge match load will undoubtedly require good squad depth and a next-man-up mentality when things go wrong.

As it pertains to NYCFC's squad, no position is in more need of reinforcement than the team's defensive corps. Though the Boys in Blue will likely be anchored by the experienced and reliable center back duo of Maxime Chanot and Alex Callens, the club is ridiculously thin beyond the Luxembourgish-Peruvian connection. Following the trading away of Sebastien Ibeagha last summer, as well as James Sands being offloaded to Rangers FC in Scotland on loan, the only true center back behind either Chanot or Callens is the inexperienced and untested Vuk Latinovich who made only one start in 2021, one that ended in a lowly 3-1 away loss to Nashville SC. If NYCFC is to try and repeat its 2021 success in 2022, they will need to fortify their defense first. And now, it seems they've made inroads towards that very goal

A report has linked Brazilian center back Thiago Martins to a move to NYCFC

In a recent report from Yokohama EX, NYCFC has been linked to Brazilian center back Thiago Martins of Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, another club in the City Football Group network, in a deal that is worth $3.4 million.

According to the report, Martins (26) has already completed his medical and left Yokohama F. Marinos in preparation for the move. Martins' Transfermarkt page lists the Brazilian as a right-footed center back capable of playing on either the right or left side of a four-man backline. Martins previously played for Brazilian club Palmeiras from 2013 to 2019, winning both the Brazilian Serie B and Serie A with the club in 2013 and 2016, respectively. After loan stints with both Paysandu and Bahia, Martins joined Yokohama F. Marinos in 2018 on loan before joining the club on a permanent transfer in 2019. That season, the Brazilian became a key player in Marinos' eventual J1 League title win.

If the deal between NYCFC and Marinos is done as the report suggests, it would probably be best to look out for an announcement in the near future. One would hope that Martins can join the club before their CONCACAF Champions League tie against Santos de Guápiles on February 15, but let's not get crazy in that regard.