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Red Bulls close to deal for Celtic fullback Gutman

Former Hermann Trophy winner has spent most of professional career on loan back in America

DC United v FC Cincinnati Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

After a couple years of outside backs on the outs, the New York Red Bulls are making wide defenders a focus again.

Once A Metro has learned from sources aware of the situation that the Red Bulls are lining up a deal to sign American left back Andrew Gutman, currently of Scottish giants Celtic FC. The deal would be yet another loan contract for both the well-traveled Gutman and the COVID-wary Red Bulls front office.

The 24-year-old Gutman, still unable to acquire a UK work permit to play in the Scottish league, spent last season in MLS on loan with FC Cincinnati before returning to Celtic following the North American season. In the interlude, the Chicago area native’s MLS rights were acquired by Atlanta United in the January league re-entry draft. Sources indicate to OaM that the deal will involve Celtic selling Gutman’s permanent rights to Atlanta and MLS, before moving the player on loan status to New York in exchange for a combination of college draft picks and league allocation.

An offensive-minded fullback who stood out enough at Indiana University to win the Hermann Trophy as the nation’s top college player in 2018, Gutman would be yet another recent example of the Red Bulls poaching young talent (American and otherwise) locked out of the first team of the high level clubs in Europe they’ve earned contracts with. Gutman will presumably be familiar with Cameron Harper, another American youngster brought in by the Red Bulls last week from the fringes of the Celtic first team.

Gutman would join Jason Pendant as the main platoon at the left back position in New York. Speculation that right-footed fullback Kyle Duncan might see more minutes on the opposite side of the field this year will have been quashed by a Gutman signing. He would be the second fullback recruited from the UK by the Red Bulls’ British sporting chief Kevin Thelwell after the loan acquisition of former Stoke City player of the year Tom Edwards.

First-year New York head coach Gerhard Struber has been known to rely heavily on his fullbacks for attacking width and ball circulation, and would not have signed off on a deal for a player of Gutman’s profile were he not confident in his fit for such a system. The coherently-fitting team that the Austrian stated in yesterday’s press conference is more important than any one marquee player is continuing to take shape at the offices in Harrison.