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Red Bulls Round-Up: January 30, 2021

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The Kaku saga continues, the Long saga quickly peaks, and the yearly Florin Tănase rumor is provided in this week’s links

FIFA Soccer 13 Launch Tournament Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Welcome to the Red Bulls Round-Up presented by Once a Metro.

Sometimes I wish Billy Joel would read the Round-Up. Do you think he likes soccer? If he does, he’s probably a Cosmos fan. I should search for an answer online. Let me just go ahead and look that up. I couldn’t find anything, so technically we cannot rule out the possibility that the Piano Man is a Red Bulls fan and potentially reading this post, which is an ambiguity I will cherish for the rest of my days.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Where is Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra? If social media is to be believed, the Red Bulls Designated Player is in Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab Emirates. He posted a picture on the stories section of his personal Instagram account, clearly enjoying his night at what seems to be the Millennium Airport Hall’s Oasis Pool Bar.

Reports have been signalling a move to Al-Taawoun FC of the Saudi Professional League. Recently, a story on GianlucaDiMarzio.com claimed Kaku will be signing a three-year contract with Al Dhiaab (The Wolves). The Red Bulls are set to receive a $3.5 million transfer fee.

The saga is close to a conclusion. All that’s left are the think pieces… and probably some regret over not taking Club América’s offer from a few years ago.

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The transfer window had a final surprise for Red Bulls fans.

Not content with connecting Aaron Long to a few Championship and Ligue 1 sides, there is rumored interest from Liverpool. As expected, the defending Premier League champions did not confirm anything. ESPN reports that the Red Bulls “have yet to receive any formal offers.”

With the window rapidly closing, the offers should be in by now. The deadline is Monday at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Regardless of what happens, expect Long to still appear in the U.S. men’s national team friendly against Trinidad and Tobago. “For now, I’m just worried about Trinidad,” he told Counter Attack. “I just really want to show well in this game and let my agent handle the rest.”

New management promised changes, and, oh boy, are they starting to roll.

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The Red Bulls made an interesting move this week, signing Tom Edwards on loan from Stoke City. According to the Stoke Sentinel, the club has been pursuing him for “three transfer windows.” His agent reveals the English right back “was initially skeptical about moving away,” but is now “excited” and finds it important “to be wanted so badly.”

Edwards has been on the outs with Stoke for a while, recently going on loan to Fleetwood Town. He “enjoyed his time” at the League One side, learning a lot from former manager Joey Barton. The move opened him up to the possibility of leaving his boyhood club again.

“I think it’s exciting,” he told writer Peter Smith. “I’m going to a country that I’ve never been to before and to a club playing in one of the top leagues in the world. I’ve experienced playing in the Premier League and now the MLS and I can’t wait… I want to go over there, put my best into everything and give my best for the New York Red Bulls.”

What awaits the player after a year abroad? Manager Michael O’Neill believes the loan “is a good opportunity” and “presents a different” experience for growth and development. The club will continue to monitor him, alluding to the opportunity to “reignite his career” with the Potters upon returning.

Get ready for crosses, at a precision and volume that only a player from Stoke can deliver.

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If there is one thing Austrian outlet BVZ loves to do, it’s writing about Bernd Eibler.

The Red Bulls assistant coach discussed his upcoming move to the United States, sharing that his flight to the United States was on January 28th. Until then, do not think for a second that he and Gerhard Struber are twiddling their thumbs and watching reruns of Inspector Rex (an Austrian television show about a police dog in the homicide unit with a penchant for ham rolls). “It’s not like we’re on vacation here in Austria now,” said the Burgenland native, busy with “scouting reports on potential additions and sending information to [Red Bulls] players in home training about the necessary basic principles such as pressing, switching, and ball possession.”

He even shared a glimpse of The Ghost of Tactics Yet to Come. “Of course we want to play offensive football, attack early on and present the opponent with problems with high intensity against the ball and good positional play,” Eibler told writer Bernhard Fenz. “But even if there is a certain basic philosophy, you need your own ideas to be successful… I enjoy a lot of trust from Gerhard Struber and should always express my opinion. Ultimately, it’s about our access to an idea that we represent together outside on the square.”

Eibler shared his boss’ familiar sentiment that the league is “physically shaped by American players” but influenced by “numerous South American” imports. Despite his young age, he does not think there will be an issue supervising his contemporaries, with the additional benefit of experiencing a “different connection” than they would with someone older. The assistant on a three-year contract is well aware of the club’s postseason history, referring to the trophy paucity as “a great incentive,” assuring that the Austrian duo “wants to build something good here and play for titles.”

All of these interviews, yet there has not been a single question about pizza and/or The Sopranos.

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You’re probably thinking, “Who is Andrés Reyes going to do for the Red Bulls?”

FTBL Insights – “Football analytics, but simplified.” – has an answer for you. Reyes “fell below the league average in all defensive duals per 90,” although he was playing for a sometimes shockingly dismal Inter Miami expansion club. The writer also believes “the young Colombian will need to improve his body control and positioning.” However, the 21-year-old is praised for his “confidence on the ball” and “accurate [passes] forward into the midfield.”

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First-round selection Luther Archimède is not just excited to be joining the Red Bulls, but “happy, happy, excited and proud.”

The Guadeloupe international spoke with Ligue Foot while at home with his family. The first-ever pick from his country is fueled by the most righteous of motivations. Although he is from Les Abymes and not Marseille, the budding Count of Monte Cristo is focused on exacting revenge upon his former club.

“It is true that when my contract ended, I was shocked to not sign a professional contract,” said Archimède. “After Sochaux, I wanted to show that I was not buried and that I was going to get up. I was revenge.”

The 21-year-old forward had some interest from MLS after the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, but nothing materialized. Matriculating to Syracuse “worked for [him],” providing the opportunity to develop a different, “more serious” mentality and lifestyle. Now a dedicated and committed professional, he does not eat sugar and avoids late nights with friends.

Like Archimède, I also avoid sugar and have no friends.

That’s not what he said. He has friends who want to hang out with him, but chooses to prioritize his career.”

I know. I also eat a lot of sugar.

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Third-round draft pick AJ Marcucci was also the toast of the interview circuit, delighted by having his rights claimed by the Red Bulls. His college coach, Reuben Burk, believes “his mindset is what really distinguished him,” sharing that “[he] got better every year, didn’t rest on his laurels and every preseason, he came in firing and trying to do more than he did last year.”

Marcucci credited his time at Connecticut College, a NCAA Division III program, for fostering development. “I was able to be myself, grow and learn from the tremendous people,” he told The College Voice (established 1916). “[The coaching staff] impacted my attitude and effort when it comes to playing the sport I love. [My teammates] were also very influential in helping me achieve this.”

The media tour continued with Marcucci talking to the Delaware County Daily Times. With NESCAC soccer canceled, the goalkeeper spent the fall playing with West Chester United SC. The match experience “helped [him] going into the combine to be prepared.”

Marcucci is ready to play for the Red Bulls, who met with him prior to the SuperDraft. “I felt like it would’ve been a great fit, and they’re one of the top teams I was interested in going to,” he told writer Matthew DeGeorge. “I’m so happy that they picked me.”

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As one of the best players in Ugandan soccer history, it’s no surprise that Ibrahim Sekagya serves as an inspiration to many youngsters trying to make their way in the world game. One such player is Fred “Giggy” Gift from Gomba Ssaza. The Lions’ defender spoke to Football256, discussing his hero.

“I can recall that it’s Sekagya that pulled my strings towards soccer and since then I’ve always wanted to do things on the field of play like him,” Gift told the Ugandan publication. “He made soccer look [like] a very simple and enjoyable thing to do. I loved his confidence and the roaring command that he laid at the back while organizing the defense in the [most] proper and required way possible.”

Moving from Salzburg, Sekagya joined New York in July of 2013, playing one-and-a-half seasons with the club. A few months later, the Ugandan international scored the second goal in the Supporters’ Shield clinching victory over the Chicago Fire. He is currently an assistant with the USL reserve team. The transition to coaching “wasn’t easy,” but “being around John Wolyniec” has helped him grow every day.

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It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday… ‘s transfer rumor.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Chris Gloster was unable to secure a U.K. work permit, and the potential move to Newcastle is now off. Jeff Carlisle of ESPN reports the PSV Eindhoven fullback has now set his sights on keyboard-stretching SønderjyskE Fodbold of the Danish Superliga. The signing of the former Red Bulls Academy scholar “is subject to the approval of the club’s American owners.”

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Dutch goalkeeper Nick Marsman is currently the back-up at Feyenoord but eyeing a move elsewhere. He was previously at FC Utrecht, the former club of David Jensen. The 30-year-old took the time to throw a little shade at an old team and teammate. “At FC Utrecht, I did not think the first keeper (Jensen) was better than me,” Marsman told Voetbal.

That’s the nature of sport and life, where competition is a constant and sometimes the boss and/or managing editor doesn’t value one’s abilities. Jensen was the starter at Utrecht for roughly two-and-a-half years, leading the club to a fourth place finish and a spot in the Europa League. Now he’s in a battle for the starting role with Ryan Meara, but you don’t see him complaining about old teammates.

It’s so unbecoming. I certainly would never want any past or present Red Bulls players to send an email to bencorkOAM@gmail.com with the intent of bashing past or current teammates and/or coaches. Please don’t do that. I won’t publish it. And certainly don’t send a direct message containing any trash talk to @Once_A_Metro on Twitter.

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You probably didn’t have your hopes up on Guillermo ‘Pol’ Fernández joining the Red Bulls, so keep them there.

The coach of Cruz Azul insists the Argentine midfielder is sticking around Liga MX for the time being despite interest from a variety of clubs. La Máquina (The Machine) wants a $4 million transfer fee, which appears too steep a price for interested suitors. Ownership is not interested in loaning the player, and “the only way out is a sale.”

Fernández spent last season on loan with Boca Juniors, receiving praise for his performances. The Red Bulls have been linked with him, most recently by Infobae. However, he shared that he would be staying with Cruz Azul and “hopes to do very well.”

Isn’t the rumor mill fun?

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Fleetwood Town better hope Tim Cahill is a Fortunate Son because they might be hiring him! (Yes, that’s a Creedence Clearwater Revival song. I intentionally made the incorrect reference because everyone else is shoehorning Fleetwood Mac jokes into their posts and articles. Isn’t my creative process fascinating?)

Following the sacking of Joey Barton, The Fishermen are in the market for a new manager. The former Red Bull Socceroo is the bookies’ favorite to take over the League One club. He’s been connected to the job throughout January, almost immediately after his hypothetical predecessor was let go.

Since retiring in 2019, Cahill has earned his UEFA A License and spent time with the Everton academy and Qatar youth national team program. Fleetwood is currently in 12th place in League One with 29 points from 22 matches, neither pushing for promotion nor in any real danger of relegation this season. The Lancashire club’s relative safety and mundanity might present the perfect environment for a debut manager to learn on the job for a few months.

It’s been a busy month for Cahill, as he was also appointed an “Officer of the Order of Australia” for his “services to football and charitable organizations. The former Designated Player has worked with UNICEF and Heartbeat of Football, as well as writing children’s books. “I’m proud to get it,” he told The Guardian. “I’ve not lived in Australia for half of my life. So it’s very special to be reminded of the impact your career on the international stage has back home.”

***

Former Red Bulls reserve goalkeeper Rafael Díaz earned his first international cap, made several saves, and earned Man of the Match for the Dominican Republic this past week. The pride of Morris Hills High School held Serbia to a scoreless draw at the Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez. “I’m very happy and proud to be able to represent the country I was born in and happy to be able to help the team get a good result against a very strong Serbia team,” said the 29-year-old Sacramento Republic goalkeeper.

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San Antonio FC made a big move, signing Marcus Epps. The former Red Bulls midfielder is a monster at the USL level, dominating last season with Portland Timbers 2. “I am very happy with my decision to join [the] organization,” he told USLSoccer.com. “They do a wonderful job of providing a professional environment and competitive culture for players to develop and excel.”

Epps joined the Red Bulls in 2019 after being selected with the first pick in the 2018 Waiver Draft, with the club sending a 2019 second-round SuperDraft selection to the San Jose Earthquakes to acquire the apex position. He made three MLS appearances but spent most of the year with the reserve team before being sent on loan to Memphis 901. The Mississippi native was released at the end of the season.

Enjoy the River Walk, Marcus. It’s not just for tourists!

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One-time rumored transfer target Veron Parkes signed with Fortuna Sittard on a contract through June of 2023, ending a long chase to secure his signature. After training with the Dutch club, the English attacker went on loan to FC Dordrecht in the second-tier Eerste Divisie. He’s made seven total appearances in the league and KNVB Cup, contributing zero goals and zero assists in his rookie season as a first-team player.

Parkes, a former West Ham scholar, was linked to the Red Bulls in May. He was also connected to Monaco and Celtic, the latter rumor gaining the most steam, a train that chug-a-lug-a-choo-choo’d all the way to August. Now the 19-year-old is in the Western city of Dordrecht, hopefully learning about inland navigation at the Binnenvaartmuseum or watching some boats at the annual Dordt in Stoom.

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Queens-based Woodhaven Soccer Club announced the hiring of Niko Petridis. The 2020 fourth-round SuperDraft selection “will join the coaching staff” at the youth organization. The St. John’s alumnus will also assist the Red Storm for the 2021 season.

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The year is 2034. The water wars have begun. Amidst all the pain and struggle, there is still a beacon of normalcy, providing a glimmer of hope to the world: Florin Tănase being mentioned alongside the Red Bulls.

Despite the constant pressing, he still hasn’t moved… anywhere. A tidbit at the end of a report from Sport.Ro mentioned the Romanian attacker as being “in the attention of” a variety of clubs, a presumably past and present list that includes New York. His current team, Fotbal Club FCSB, continues to play hard ball, with the 26-year-old being labeled a “rebel.”

Tănase was first linked to the Red Bulls in June of 2019. However, Kristian Dyer quickly threw water on the story, reporting that the “team has not made an offer” and “they won’t.” Six months later, TV Digi Sport shared the same rumor again, claiming, “The Americans are willing to offer around 7-8 million euros,” a move that clearly did not happen.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Geraldine of West Orange.

Every time I see Tănase connected to the Red Bulls, I feel like a Romaniac.

Thank you, Geraldine. That clearly wasn’t the desperate, forced wordplay of someone trying to come up with a joke before submitting this post.

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Do you have a story you’d like to submit to the Weekly News Bulletin? Email us at bencorkOAM@gmail.com or send a DM to @Once_A_Metro on Twitter.