Danish soccer has resumed following the winter break, but a certain New York Red Bulls-affiliated loanee remains on the sideline.
In advance of the Danish Cup quarterfinal, AGF Aarhus announced Mathias Jørgensen “is on his way back from a minor injury” and would not appear against third-tier opponent Boldklubben AF 1893. There is an air of missed opportunity in being unable to integrate the new signing against a lower league foe. The 20-year-old striker was also not included on the match day roster for the first two Superliga matches of 2021.
Jørgensen signed with the Red Bulls from Odense BK in February of 2019, described as a player that “can help [the club] right off the bat.” Despite sporting director Denis Hamlett never seeing him play in person, the teenager came highly recommended from former New York and Leipzig head of scouting Benjamin Ehresmann. After two years spent mostly with the reserve team in the USL Championship, he joined the Superliga club last December on a half-season loan that includes an option to buy. According to Ekstra Bladet, the potential transfer is for five million Danish kroner, which converts to a little over $800,000, notably lower than the reported $2,500,000 fee that brought him to Major League Soccer.
Jørgensen’s return to Denmark got off on the wrong foot with a positive coronavirus test and an ensuing quarantine period. Now he’s sitting out due to an unnamed injury, during a crucial short-term loan in which matches are a limited resource. Continuing to miss playing time for one reason or another at a key stage of development begins to compound, resulting in the diminishment or complete derailment of a once promising prospect’s future.
Upon further examination, the loan is a curious move for a player in need of regular first-team experience. AGF deploys a one-striker formation and has a firmly established target man in team captain Patrick Mortensen. The 31-year-old has scored 11 goals in 19 appearances, hoovering up the lion’s share of playing time. Back-up Alexander Ammitzböll has assumed the late-match cameo role, while recently acquired Sören Tengstedt waits for his chance to star at Ceres Park.
De hviie is enjoying another solid season, third in the table and on pace for a second consecutive qualification to the Europa League. Management acquired Jørgensen with the stated intention of “bringing a new dimension to the squad with his speed and nose for goal,” but so far he has yet to have an opportunity to demonstrate either ability. It’s still early days in the half-season loan, but things could certainly be going better.
The Red Bulls presumably hope AGF will eventually activate the buy option on the deal, an increasingly unlikely prospect if he continues failing to make the bench. A relatively awkward summer move back to MLS may be in his future, although as he told Tipsbladet, “I am not dismissive of anything, nor am I at all reluctant to return.”
Thank you to Simon Øhrberg for assisting in the research for this story.