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Red Bulls Paper Revue: December 27, 2021

Kaku has a musical response to his latest contract drama, various Austrians dangle in front of Gerhard Struber on the transfer market, and Anatole Abang gets “interesting” in this week’s links

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Nashville SC
Youba Diarra (right) is still unsure about the next step of his career.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Red Bulls Paper Revue presented by Once a Metro.

Wow, we’ve come to the end of another year. At some point, the lack of accomplishment becomes an accomplishment in itself. That a person can go so long without doing anything of value becomes… well, not admirable, but notable. So please, all of you, proud of your lack of production. Wear that inverse success as a badge of honor.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Youba Diarra is probably going elsewhere in 2022. According to Diario de Cádiz, the Malian midfielder is on trial at Cádiz CF. He is spending ten days in Spain, after which manager Álvaro Cervera will make a decision.

Cádiz is currently at 19th out of 20 teams in the La Liga table, although only a single point away from safety. The bottom three spots get relegated, so Diarra should be able to help if signed. The midfielder’s talent has never been in doubt, but, as noted by the report, his ability to stay healthy remains a constant issue.

Of course, reading between the lines, Diarra appears to not be returning to the Red Bulls. With the status of free agent Sean Davis up in the air, the midfielder depth chart appears a bit thin. The abbreviated offseason narrows the margin for error, indeed.

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Though someone might think differently from reading the press, Amir Murillo remains a fixture for Anderlecht as the club attempts to return to former glory. He is a star for club and country, dictating from the right back position. His manager has established a wavelength, knowing how to work with the talent.

“I learned above all that I should never be too euphoric with Amir,” said Vincent Kompany. “We have to constantly keep him sharp. If he is sharp, he is a real athlete who has a very special profile at this level. He is a player who lives for those big matches. If he plays football to the maximum of his potential, he is a very important player in Belgium, one of the best.”

The 25-year-old has a long-term contract with Anderlecht, but other clubs may be circling. Spartak Moscow was interested in the past and may come around again. Perhaps Murillo could even link up with his beloved former manager who is now an assistant at Manchester United.

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There are good weeks and there are great weeks; Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra managed to have both.

The Argentine-Paraguayan attacker played a key role in Al-Taawoun’s 3-2 comeback victory over Al-Ta’ee in the Round of 16 of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup. He assisted on the first goal and scored the equalizer. The Cooperation advances to the quarterfinal, with a match-up against Al-Ittihad set for February 14th. Firing up a stream sounds like a great plan for Valentine’s Day.

Kaku celebrated the victory by signing a contract extension with Al-Taawoun that now lasts through 2025, turning down interest from “Gulf clubs” and a Mexican suitor. According to Al-Riyadia, he is receiving a “25%” increase from his previous contract. The club then posted this video of the playmaker strumming a guitar while overlooking the city. This surely settles any brewing rumors and stories of a potential departure… forever.

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I feel obligated to pass along the following story, in light of the Red Bulls reportedly on the hunt for veteran talent in Europe.

According to Kurier, “an MLS club” is interested in Jakob Jantscher of Sturm Graz, who was on the books at Red Bull Salzburg from 2010 through 2013. The 32-year-old attacker went on an absolute tear during the first half of the season, registering 15 goals and 14 assists in 29 matches. Sporting director Andreas Schicker claims “nothing concrete” has reached his desk and hopes to keep the Austrian Bundesliga’s second-place squad together until the summer.

In the interest of fun, Jantscher and Gerhard Struber happen to share representation. The New York Red Bulls happen to be in the market for attackers. The club happens to be short on Austrian players, a pattern of the manager’s past transfer dealings.

This, of course, means nothing. Contributing 14 goals and 15 assists in half of a season would interest a lot of clubs outside of the Red Bulls. Now, if you threw a name out there like, I don’t know… looking… looking… looking… David Atanga of KV Oostende, now, that would be an interesting target, although the attacker only just moved to Belgium and has not appeared in the rumor mill.

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Speaking of the old transfer market-a-roo, a favorite of the manager is available.

On December 21st, Austrian midfielder Dominik Frieser departed Barnsley “by mutual consent” and is seeking “a new opportunity closer to home.” The 28-year-old joined the English Championship club from LASK Linz in August of 2020, one of the final transfers made by Gerhard Struber. He appeared in 43 matches but saw playing time dwindle under manager Poya Asbaghi.

Described as “a consummate professional” who “gave everything from the first minute to the last,” he corrected the previous assertion of moving back to Austria, expressing a “very clear goal” to stay abroad. In an interview with Sky Sport, Frieser revealed that contact with Rapid Wien went nowhere, but negotiations are currently ongoing with clubs from Germany and the Netherlands. The United States would count as outside of his home nation, with New York appearing to have openings all over the formation.

“Dominik has achieved great things in Austria and in Europe, so I am delighted that he has joined us at Barnsley,” said Struber in 2020. “He comes with lots of experience. He is a player with positive attributes and positive characteristics and I know he will add a lot to this team.”

This is not to say that Frieser is connected to the Red Bulls or that he should or that he will. A player that Struber likes and pursued in the past is available. If he ends up in New York, then maybe we can all pretend I provided something of value to the online rhetoric.

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When the German Bundesliga returns from winter break, RB Leipzig will have a new player joining the club. Attacker Caden Clark is headed back to his parent club, ready to take on the world and earn a place. According to the manager, he is going to be under observation.

“We have to take a look,” said Domenico Tedesco. “The idea is for him to join training on January 2nd. And then we’ll see.”

That’s really the best place to be. He has a chance to prove himself. After that, who knows what will happen?

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We’ve been over this. Mathias Jørgensen does not regret joining the Red Bulls. The situation failed to go as planned, but he enjoyed his time in New York.

Nevertheless, we have another interview, again with Bold. The same talking points are on the agenda. For example, what did the striker glean from his American experience?

“It’s been three wild years and I’ll never regret it,” said Jørgensen. “I have learned to stand on my own two feet, and both on and off the court I have learned many different things that I can put in my backpack and use going forward… I’m really glad I did it, but of course I’m not so happy about football… So I do not lie and cry over it, because I am sure that I can find my game again and the goals and playing time will probably come back somewhere else.”

At which club will the Danish attacker land? We have yet to learn. I imagine the stories will start coming out soon, in triplicate.

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A few weeks ago, Sebastián Córdova was connected to the Red Bulls. File that transfer rumor under “NOT HAPPENING” because the Mexican attacker stayed in Liga MX, signing with Tigres UANL. His former club brought in Jonathan dos Santos, proving that the wheel keeps on turning.

My condolences to anyone that placed a wager on him moving to New York. That never seemed likely to happen. Also, stop gambling, possibly forever.

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The transfer window can be intense, especially for an out-of-contract player. Anatole Abang is feeling the heat, on the way out of Keşlə Futbol Klubu. He spoke with Azerbaijani outlet Report about the rumors.

“I do not want to talk about what the [Keşlə] head coach said about me,” shared the Cameroonian striker. “My contract expires on December 31st and I will not renew the contract. I will not explain why.”

He doesn’t have to tell us ungrateful piggies a thing but did graciously discuss the future. “I have not received any offers from [rumored clubs Zirə and Neftçi],” said Abang. “But I would like to continue my career in Azerbaijan. I am a free agent and I look forward to everything.”

Not only is he causing a stir in the professional world, but his personal life generated some headlines. He posed for a photo session with his wife, Adelia, lighting up social media. Multiple websites described the work as “interesting,” but that’s not really for any of us to decide.

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Love or hate Red Bull Football, the organization has a reputation for scouting. In a recent interview with TUTTOmercatoWEB, consultant Vincenzo Cardillo shared the challenges of competing in the global market. Finding and signing a player becomes more difficult when certain clubs have an inside track and established development structure.

“I’ll give you an example: I swooped in on Naby Keita as soon as he arrived from Africa in France, but at Red Bull they were very skilled in getting to the player, the relationship, and also the figures of the deal,” said Cardillo. “Red Bull is structured in several countries… They are in Germany and have discounts on passports compared to Italy, like Austria, where bringing non-EU citizens is easier. They start from Liefering, then to Salzburg… They can train them. They take top-level players, wean them internationally in Salzburg, and then, once the player is trained, they have two paths. They either sell him on a European circuit or they bring him to Leipzig, should the parent company want it… They have become attractive for [players from] all countries.”

Perhaps Red Bull has seen where the global game is going and accelerated the process. With the rise of super-clubs and multi-team ownership, would failing to do everything necessary to succeed be anything other than negligence? That is a question better debated in bars and on social media.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Hilda of Teaneck.

At my age, I feel like I would need at least a dozen scouts searching the globe to find me a suitable husband.

Thank you, Hilda. I think the problem is that as people age, we gain more likes and dislikes through our experiences with others. It’s not necessarily that your standards are higher, just that you have increased specifications as to what you want, which excludes more people than before. Keep searching but don’t be afraid to be a little flexible on the less intransigent of your desires. People can surprise you. They probably won’t, but they can.

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