clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Once A Metro Expert Guide: March 13, 2021

More frustration in Denmark for Mathias Jørgensen, past Barcelona offers for Caden Clark, and Jesse Marsch being tipped for...the German national team?

Inter Miami CF v New York Red Bulls
Omir Fernandez had help from old buddy Tyler Adams in breaking into the Red Bulls academy
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Welcome to the Red Bulls Expert Guide presented by Once a Metro.

What are you thinking about this week? I’m happy that I get to provide these news stories for all of you. Sure, people could probably search for these stories directly, but I like to think of myself as a conduit. Please just let me have this.

Here’s this week’s top story.

***

On-loan striker Mathias Jørgensen did not make the match day roster for AGF Aarhus’ 1-0 win over FC Midtjylland. He also was not included in the squad for the second leg of the Danish Cup quarterfinal against third-division side Boldklubben af 1893. His club lost, 2-1, but advanced to the semifinal on aggregate, 4-3.

AGF’s next match is a Superliga fixture on Monday, March 15th against Randers.

***

The 11 Yanks YouTube channel interviewed Caden Clark. The 17-year-old midfielder discussed “his hope for the national team and the Olympics,” the tactical changes Gerhard Struber made in the week leading up to and at halftime of the playoff match against Columbus Crew, and touched on rumored links to RB Leipzig. He also shared how close he came to joining Barcelona, which would have included spending a year at USL side Phoenix Rising.

***

Another Red Bull also hit the podcast circuit. Omir Fernandez appeared on episode 95 of the Next Generation Football Podcast, as a part of the Rising Stars series. He discussed his youth career, which was jump started by a familiar face.

“When I turned 14, my freshman year of high school, I got a call from the New York Red Bulls head coach for the academy,” the Bronx native told host Shauyan Noorfeshan. “[He] told me Tyler Adams had given him my number, that he wanted to make a new team for the U-14 age [group], and that he wanted me to join them. At that time, me and Tyler were with the U.S. national team U-14s and every time we would link up, he would tell me, “Come join the New York Red Bulls.’”

At the time, Fernandez felt like he was “making a mistake leaving his friends,” but the decision worked out despite alleged badmouthing by a previous club. In the offseason, the forward trains with his father, referred to as his “first coach.” A future goal is to play for the senior national team, a pursuit that would be aided by a strong season with the Red Bulls.

The upcoming season could be career-defining for Fernandez. At 22 years old and with two years of professional experience, the chance to impress a new manager presents an opportunity for a next step but could also result in a quick move to the outskirts of the team picture.

***

Red Bulls goalkeeper coach Jyri Nieminen appeared on the Pallo & Pullo Podcast. The 33-year-old discussed his journey, a “story that is different from many others.” He joined the Red Bulls in January and was most recently with the Orlando Pirates of the South African Premier Division.

This episode is surely a treat for all Finnish-speaking Red Bulls fans.

***

Would you like an update on everybody’s favorite former rumor, Sead Hakšabanović? Let’s continue along Bill & Sead’s Bogus Journey. According to Swedish journalist Daniel Kristoffersson, the IFK Norrköping playmaker is a hot property. While the Red Bulls appeared to playing solitaire during the past transfer window, there will be increased competition for his signature.

“A super goal against IFK Gothenburg yesterday and Haksabanovic seems more and more to be lost for [Norrköping],” Kristoffersson wrote in his weekly transfer column for Expressen. “With his progress, he is currently the Allsvenskan’s best player and I can never imagine that he is left after the summer. I know that there are dialogues with a couple of clubs and it will be exciting to see where he ends up.”

Hakšabanović is continuing his sizzling run of form in the Swedish Allsvenskan, described as one of the “attackers of the season.” His goal from last week’s 1-1 draw against IFK Göteborg in the Svenska Cupen was the sort of individual brilliance that any club could use. The Red Bulls might have been a little early or a little late on this transfer, but I’m not quite sure which. But, hey, it’s not happening now.

According to FotbollDirekt, “several clubs” want to bid around $4,700,000, but Norrköping is looking for a little under $6,000,000. “As everyone knows, we received an offer from New York last winter, but it did not work out,” said chief scout Stig Torbjörnsen. “What happens after that now, no one knows… That he has interest from clubs in different countries, it is completely natural. It depends on who comes and what bid, what money is involved.”

***

Here’s an odd gambling tidbit in the wake of Joachim Löw announcing he is stepping down from the German national team after the next European Championships. Apparently Jesse Marsch has 20/1 and 16/1 odds at various bookmakers to become the next manager. The current Red Bull Salzburg leader is quite the hot property in the European press and connected to a variety of positions, but I don’t think he’s quite reached the level of the four-time World Cup champions just yet.

Once A Metro urges readers to gamble responsibly, which probably includes not putting money on Jesse Marsch to become the next manager of the German national team.

***

One player with heaps of praise for the former gaffer is Tyler Adams. The Leipzig midfielder-defender sat down with Sky Sports for a wide-ranging interview, touching on a variety of topics. He shared that he still talks with Marsch, his first professional coach.

“Jesse was such an influential figure for me,” the 22-year-old told Adam Bate. “The person who ultimately convinced me to sign a professional contract was him. He had this blueprint for me. He had this plan that made me believe in myself and my abilities that basically convinced me that if I were to succeed it would be through this system… We talk a lot. We are always in contact.”

The interview also delves into the original plans that New York had for him, Julian Nagelsmann’s tactics, and his appreciation for LeBron James. Adams has made 30 appearances for Leipzig across all competitions this season. The club was recently bounced by Liverpool in the Champions League round of 16.

***

Former Red Bull multi-hyphenate Ralf Rangnick was also connected to the German national team job, in his traditionally vague fashion. Then again, what position has he not been linked to since leaving the energy drink giants? The latest story is that the 62-year-old will be joining Schalke 04 as sporting director.

The former German giants are dead last in the Bundesliga with 10 points from 24 matches. The opportunity to resurrect the once-storied club presents quite the intriguing challenge, one that would interest the grand footballing maverick. Rangnick previously managed Schalke in 2004 through 2005 and again in 2011. In September, he ruled out rejoining Die Königsblauen as a head coach, claiming disinterest in “ending a poor run of form at a short notice.”

I’m sure the lower division won’t be that bad, Ralfy. If you’re ever feeling down about things in the second-tier, consider referring to the league as the “TWOndesliga.” That’ll surely bring a smile to your face as it does mine.

***

Former Red Bulls general manager Jérôme de Bontin spoke with Ecofoot on the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on French soccer. As American investment funds continue to buy into Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, there is some question as to their end goal. He cautions there are different kinds of owners, thus they should not be judged in the same manner.

“Some want to have fun and own a popular asset,” de Bontin told writer Anthony Alyce. “Others believe that the valuations of European clubs are underestimated because they do not reflect their media and commercial potential. They then bet on a capital gain on resale. Finally, other buyers are looking to use the media reach of their new acquisition to develop the brand and products of their core business. They therefore believe, over time, that it is much more affordable to own and manage a club than to invest regularly in advertising space on the net or on television.”

De Bontin, formerly president of AS Monaco, was hired by the Red Bulls in October of 2012. He departed the club in March of 2014 due to “personal reasons.” In a later interview, his stated opinion was that his very ambitious objective “did not necessarily match those of the Red Bull organization in Austria.”

Do you think his recent opinion on the intentions of certain ownership groups was influenced by his time at Red Bull? De Bontin was an interesting figure in the club’s history, reportedly responsible for preventing the hiring of Gary McAllister and growing more prescient with time. While the company line was a full-throated acceptance of the noisy expansion neighbors across the Hudson, he expressed mild trepidation to the “probably premature” addition of a second New York team, an increasingly reasonable in hindsight assertion considering his November 2012 suggestion of instead looking at the underserved markets of “Florida, Atlanta, [and] Minnesota.”

***

Local youth club Toms River FC announced the expansion of the partnership with the Red Bulls for the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 season. The two organizations linked up last June, with the MLS side intending to “operate all aspects of the club’s youth soccer program.” The relationship includes “coaching staff, curriculum access, player clinics, team training, coach education workshops, and training camps.”

The expansion of the Red Bulls’ tentacles into various youth markets is always a good thing. Like it or not, what is referred to as “development” is often more about networking and recruitment than actually training a player from ages 11 through 18. More affiliates offer increased scouting and a direct route for the Homegrown signings of tomorrow.

***

How much is RB Leipzig expected to lose in income this season? According to Oliver Mintzlaff, the number is approximately 60 million euros. “We cannot compensate for that,” said the club’s chief executive officer.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the financial maneuverability of many front offices across the world. Should the cash spigot ever truly be twisted off, Red Bull has a built-in back-up plan with clubs all over the world. Don’t be surprised if there is slightly more “synergy” than usual over the next year, at least until the world returns to normal.

***

Just kidding on those rumors linking Red Bull Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund to an exit from the organization. He assured Sky Sports of his comfort with the club and “has a lot of fun working here and putting together a good team.” May his seemingly cordial relationship with New York manager Gerhard Struber continue.

Freund also discussed his head coach, Jesse Marsch, a man who apparently cannot go a single day without being discussed by the media. It’s been noted that if the American stayed in “Mozart’s city” (awesome nickname) past this summer, he would be “the first Salzburg coach to have been in the office for more than two years.” However, that does not mean an exit is in the near future, as the American is similarly “comfortable” and his family is “enjoying” life in Austria.

***

I try to stash all of the Red Bull synergy stuff at the bottom of the posts because readers must find these parts dreadfully boring.

We find all of it boring!

Oh, okay. Well, anyway, remember the report linking Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic to the international head of sport position with Red Bull (set to be filled “by the summer”)? Despite reportedly having a solid professional relationship with Oliver Mintzlaff and “enjoying New York,” he is uninterested in the role. His eyes are squarely on Hertha Berlin, but, considering you’ve read this far, I imagine you’ll permit a little hypothetical color.

Frankfurt is not letting Bobic leave without a fight. According to Fuldaer Zeitung, the club - citing “values,” “loyal behavior,” and “setting an example” - wants compensation, with a speculated fee in the range of five million euros, as he is currently under contract until 2023. Perhaps an exit would be more permissive and cheaper if the final destination is a position outside of the Bundesliga, some sort of international coordinator role.

***

The Red Bulls are doing some pretty neat things in the world of eSports, I think. I have no idea, but it seems like they are.

Recently, New York Red Bulls lead counsel Peter Tringali appeared at a webinar hosted by law firm Hogan Lovells. The other speaker was Matthew Archambault, an industry bigwig with a monstrously long job title at Riot Games. The topics included “parallels and divergences in the sports and eSports landscape” and the impact of intellectual property rights.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Elsie of Marlboro.

Sounds like an interesting discussion. Did anybody ask about contract extensions and option years?

Thank you, Elsie. I imagine that topic did not come up and was wholly irrelevant to the subject matter of the webinar.

***

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