Dispatches from the foreign press confirm: the search for more defenders continues.
According to Expressen, the New York Red Bulls made an offer for Thai-Swedish left back and winger Eric Kahl. The 19-year-old plays with AIK in the first division Allsvenskan. The reported $600,000 bid was described as “shameful,” with the Swedish club valuing the player at $2,400,000. His contract runs through December of 2022, and he will only leave for a team “that is really a right step in his development.”
Despite his young age, Kahl has already appeared 27 times for AIK. The “fast and technical” wide player recently made his debut with the Swedish U-21 team, earning four caps in UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifying. Club Brugge and several Italian clubs are rumored to be interested in securing his services. Bordeaux previously brought him in for a trial in 2019.
Media reports continue to show Kevin Thelwell’s New York operation as being active at high levels of the European transfer market, but with a growing pile of misses following the fruitless pursuits of Montenegro midfielder Sead Hakšabanović and Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori. Curiously, the club appears to be pursuing more depth at the fullback position, despite already having five on the depth chart, including recent English loan signing Tom Edwards. This continued pursuit of upgrades at positions already full could indicate the future departure of one or more players on the back line.
Fullback is an important, if not the most important, position in the gegenpress expected from new manager Gerhard Struber, requiring an almost superhuman work rate as players are required to contribute deep in the final third while defending with little margin of error. If the wide player lets the opponent escape the trap, the result is a dangerous counter-attack. The focus on strengthening this role makes sense, but still curious amid the other positions seemingly requiring more intense focus. However, one assumes the head of sport and scouting department can multi-task.
The push for youth also continues. The Red Bull transfer ethos is to buy young with the intention of selling later, never giving a player their final contract. Kahl is definitely a player on the rise, at the precipice of a bigger move, although the club may have been a little late to the table for this prospect. He appears to have a bright future ahead, one that most likely will not be in Major League Soccer.