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Rumor: Tyler Adams was a free transfer to RB Leipzig


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MLS: New York Red Bulls at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The absence of any reports of the fee RB Leipzig paid New York Red Bulls for Tyler Adams might be because there was none.

RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has been talking to Sport Bild about his club’s plans to strengthen its squad and a widely circulated report in the German media suggests the club might have about 35 million Euros to spend this January. That might end up being spend mostly on RB Salzburg’s Amadou Haidara and Everton’s Ademola Lookman, with the former being considered almost certain to be joining RBL this winter despite a recent injury.

Bild reported the Adams move to RBL - the first confirmed RBL foray into the winter transfer market - was a free transfer almost as soon as the deal was officially announced.

RB Live has reported its sources advise a “low seven-digit transfer fee” was paid for Adams, but most outlets in Germany appear to favoring Bild’s assessment of the deal for now.

Adams joined RBNY’s MLS squad from the club’s USL team at the end of 2015. He was not on the Red Bulls’ list of contract options exercised at the end of the 2017 season, indicating the deal he was on at that time was secure through 2018. Since his transfer to RB Leipzig was announced before RBNY issued its 2018 roster update, his contract status at the end of this season was moot - he’d already left the squad.

If Adams was technically a free transfer to RBL, it does not mean RBNY received nothing for the player it developed into a candidate for USMNT player of the year. There are of course all sorts of other ways RB Global Soccer could reward its New York branch for contributions to the Red Bull soccer family in 2018.

In RBNY’s end-of-season interviews, Denis Hamlett was asked about the nature of the deal struck with RBL. His response was more or less to quote MLS rules governing homegrown players:

“Homegrown is 100% the club. So whenever you have a transaction that’s a homegrown then the clubs keeps 100% of it. And then I think it’s [$750,000] of allocation comes in that you can use towards the salary cap - and then the rest goes into the club that you can sort of turn in and figure out, make improvements within the club in terms of the academy or whatever you see fit.”

Asked directly if there was a transfer fee involved, RBNY’s sporting director responded with a smile, “Yes.”