HANOVER, N.J. – Even with MLS’s secondary transfer window set to shut tomorrow night and nary a rumor or whisper, head coach Chris Armas suggested after training this afternoon that the team is in advanced negotiations with multiple potential additions.
“Some of the things that are on the table for every team, it’s just got to get over the last hurdle,” Armas said. “So, we’re close on a few things and we think that – you know, I won’t be surprised if, right at the buzzer here, we can add a piece or two.”
It was a familiar message for fans of the team, who no doubt need more than words at this late stage. It has been 24 days since the first inkling of a potential move: a July 13 tweet from Dylan Butler of Pro Soccer USA that quoted Chris Armas as saying he “wouldn’t be surprised” with a signing in the next two weeks.
Also, a secondary transfer window signing seems imminent for #RBNY "I wouldn't be surprised in the next two weeks if you see a signing," Armas said.— Dylan Butler (@Dylan_Butler) July 13, 2019
Tonight, with 24 hours remaining in the window, a name was put to the anonymity of transfer speculation for the first time, as an article in Football Insider reported that Southampton winger Josh Sims is on the verge of a one-year loan to the Red Bulls.
Nothing has been confirmed from the club at this stage, but the 22-year-old Englishman does fit the profile in several ways. He is young, fills a glaring need out wide (Armas conceded today that, while Florian Valot is progressing well, expecting him to return this season would be a stretch) and seems to possess the motor for the Red Bulls’ high press.
Sims would also – with his quick burst of speed, technical ability and Premier League pedigree – seem to fulfill the starting-caliber description that Armas detailed when asked about potential transfer acquisitions last week.
“What I would say is that, we’re not looking for depth right now,” Armas said on Aug. 1. “We’re looking to add a piece or two that makes us better, that, there’s no question about it, that player makes us better.
“So, maybe that’s why it hasn’t happened already, because we’re being selective of who would fit into our culture, to our style of play. So, I would say that, we’re being careful who we add, because it has to clearly make us a better team. Otherwise, why make the move?”
It’s important to note, the Red Bulls can still acquire players until the official roster freeze on Aug. 30, but receipts for international transfers are needed by tomorrow.
Sims spent the first half of last season on loan at Reading F.C. in the Championship, before returning to Southampton in January – a club he has been at since joining its prestigious academy in 2011.
Whether he proves to be the ultimate payout for the Red Bulls’ patience and the possible match-winner Armas described remains to be seen.