HARRISON, N.J. – Finalized on the last day of the summer transfer window in August, Southampton and the New York Red Bulls agreed to a loan for winger Josh Sims. It was Sporting Director Denis Hamlett’s only midseason infusion into the team: a loan for the remainder of the MLS season.
That season ended on Sunday, with Sims experiencing the full spectrum of emotions: from knee-sliding in celebration of his first Red Bulls goal in the sixth minute to holding his forehead following a collision that forced him out of the match in the 29th minute.
His exit seemed like the latest cruel, unfortunate finish to a promising Red Bulls signing, but, hold off on that doom and gloom.
“It’s over now,” Sims said of the loan, “but there’s an option to renew it again.”
Sims said before he would be content with a return to New York in 2020, but there had been no indication his loan had that option. The 22-year-old Englishman helped clear up the situation on Wednesday.
According to Sims, Southampton had intended on a loan through the 2019-20 Premier League season, with the customary option to cut the loan short during the January transfer window. But, since the newly-shortened MLS season ends – at the very latest – in November, Southampton had to structure a loan that ended earlier.
“Being it’s the end of the season out here in MLS, I guess it was a good time for a clause to be put in, so that I could stay in England after the [MLS] season finished,” Sims said. “I think it was just more so I can weigh up my options. If I wasn’t enjoying my time here, I’d stay in England.
“So, it’s just different, different options. But, I’ve enjoyed my time here, so we’ll see what Southampton say and see what Red Bull wants.”
Sims would welcome a return. He’s made eight appearances and six starts in MLS since his debut on Aug. 24, more than he averaged in three seasons in the Premier League. He’s also been a seamless fit in the locker room and embraced the culture change from England to the United States.
Whether or not he comes back depend on his place in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plan at Southampton and his salary negotiation with the Red Bulls. This season, Sims was listed as a Young Designated Player, with a guaranteed compensation of $710,467.
Despite his noticeable impact, Sims did not fill the stat sheet with goals and assists (he tallied one goal, one assist). The financial hurdle will be the toughest to overcome, but, if it’s cleared, a return to New York next season appears likely for the late-summer loan.