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Profile: New York Red Bulls’ new defender Issiar Dramé

Last week, New York Red Bull completed the signing of free agent Issiar Drame, adding the 22-year-old center-half to their defensive roster for the rest of the 2021 season.

When the news of NYRB’s latest recruit started to break, supporters took to the internet search engines to hunt for nuggets of information about the club’s French mystery man.

Info about Drame is relatively scarce, though we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the giant defender below in our player profile.

Who did New York Red Bulls sign Drame from?

Technically, Dramé was a free agent when NYRB signed him last week, though the youngster was attached to Ukrainian club Olimpik Donetsk last season, where he made 19 appearances for the club. Olimpik finished 13th out of 14 teams in Ukraine’s top tier in 2020/21 and were subsequently relegated.

Where did Drame begin his career?

In the early parts of his career, Dramé spent two years training at the famed INF Clairefontaine facility in France, where many of the country’s biggest names and brightest stars have honed their skills. Dramé then had a brief spell with the academy at Stade Rennes before he moved to join Ligue 1 giants Lyon in 2016.

Dramé played with the club’s U-19s and reserve teams in the fourth tier of the French football pyramid, the Championnat National 2, though his appearances were fleeting and the prospect never forced his way into the first-team plans with OL.

In his search for a more prominent role elsewhere, the center-back had unsuccessful trials with Brann in Norway and Sturm Graz in Austria before settling in Ukraine with Olimpik Donetsk in October last year.

What kind of player is Issiar Dramé?

Standing at an imposing 6’6” or 1.97 metres, Dramé was described as “the tallest footballer in Lyon history”, however, despite signing a five-year deal with the club in 2017, he never really pushed on.

Unsurprisingly, his height makes him an aerially dominant performer while his long stride allows him to make recovery runs with ease if required.

However, sometimes Dramé can look a little awkward in possession and he often finds it difficult to move his feet quickly enough in one-on-one situations against attackers.

Strangely, Dramé doesn’t seem to offer much of a goal-scoring threat from set pieces despite his clear height advantage. The 22-year-old hasn’t notched a single goal in his entire career to date.

Where will Issiar Dramé fit in at New York Red Bulls?

With former MLS Defender of the Year and USMNT regular Aaron Long out of the rest of the season with an injury and Andres Reyes struggling to maintain his availability, NYRB boss Gerhard Struber has limited defensive options.

Indeed, Sean Nealis and Amro Tarek have often been the only natural center-backs available to Struber. Keen to bolster his options at the back, the Austrian coach nabbed Uruguayan defender Lucas Monzon on loan on deadline day, and the acquisition of Dramé should add even more depth to an area the Red Bulls were light in.

Initially at least, Dramé will likely be close to the bottom in terms of the defensive pecking order at the club, though some impressive performances with the NYRB reserves could give Struber something to think about.

Dramé will hope to make the NYRB squad for their next MLS fixture at the weekend. Read our New York Red Bulls vs D.C United picks and betting tips here.

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