The winter transfer window is off to a flying start. A Scottish winger is traveling up Route 1, and you can take that any way you like.
According to a report from Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal of The Athletic, the New York Red Bulls are acquiring Lewis Morgan from Inter Miami for the pricey sum of $1.2 million in allocation money. The trade is “agreed by both clubs” and will become official in the post-MLS Cup window. The Floridian club is facing a salary crunch due to a fine for alleged roster mismanagement.
The twice-capped Scottish international began his career at St. Mirren following a long spell in the Rangers Academy. In January of 2018, Morgan made a heralded move to Celtic, signing a four-and-a-half year deal with the Caledonian super-club. He made 31 appearances and embarked on a loan to Sunderland, but the breakthrough never came.
Miami called in January of 2020, signing the winger on a three-year deal. His first season in Florida was solid, contributing five goals and give assists in 20 league appearances. The standout performance was a brace in a 2-1 victory over Atlanta United.
Lewis Morgan’s second goal tonight was a great strike tbf to him— Lewis Laird (@LewisLaird01) October 4, 2020
The most recent year was difficult but likely a result of overall mediocrity by Major League Soccer’s Xerxes I. He contributed a mere two goals and two assists, but the winger led the team in key passes, completed crosses, and passes in the final third. For most of the season, his role was both build-up facilitator and distributor, although defensive work rate will be a necessary improvement.
Signing Morgan could signify a few things for the Red Bulls. As an attack-minded right winger, he could slot into the fullback spot vacated by Kyle Duncan, serving as a marauding focal point in the vertical system. This assumes the continued usage of the 3-5-2 formation, which promises greater defensive responsibilities but increased privileges for wide players.
The issue may be his three-year contract. The initial social media post from Tenorio fails to mention an extension, similar to the deal taken by Frankie Amaya in a similar blockbuster allocation-money-to-a-struggling-side trade. For the Red Bulls to spend such a sum to acquire a player, losing him after a single season would be a problem.