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Red Bulls Expert Guide: June 28, 2021

The club’s head scout goes back home, Markus Schopp follows in Gerhard Struber’s footsteps, and more wacky Kaku misadventures in this week’s links

Referee Brian Hall lends a hand to the New York Red Bulls’ M
Could Markus Schopp end up as the latest Barnsley manager?
Photo by Chuck Myers/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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

Do you ever wonder if there is something better out there? Don’t do that. Everything you could possibly need is right here.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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As you’ve probably heard by now, New York Red Bulls head of scouting Paul Fernie has moved back to Germany and taken the sporting director position at SV Wehen Wiesbaden. Brought to New York in December of 2019, he previously worked at Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest, Crawley Town, Doncaster Rovers, and Leeds United. The 3. Liga club thanked the Red Bulls organization for “their kindness.”

“I already know SVWW very well and can fully identify with its ambitions and goals,” said Fernie. “I would like to build on the foundation created in recent years and continuously develop sporting structures. A sustainable philosophy and identity should be established… I am very happy and proud to be able to return to SVWW.”

Fernie joined the club before head of sport Kevin Thelwell, although little has been written of their relationship. It would be fair to assume that several signings bear the former’s influence, although the holistic process of player acquisition rarely involves a single person. The jump from scouting to sporting director is a huge step up in professional status, making the departure understandable.

The former head of scouting went further into his past responsibilities in an interview with Kicker. Describing MLS as “a big learning curve,” there were a lot of new rules “such as the draft system with colleges” that were different than in Germany. Also, working for a multi-club group was a new but beneficial experience.

“[My job] was about bringing more and more talents to the team,” said Fernie. “That succeeded… Naturally, we worked closely with Leipzig and with Bragantino in Brazil. RB is now known worldwide as a scouting network. Everyone knows how they are approaching. This is an advantage.”

Perhaps there will be further link-ups down the road. The world is a very small place.

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Would you believe that Al-Taawoun was the only Saudi Professional League club that wanted to sign Alejandro Gamarra? Their faith certainly paid off, as he dominated from the attacking midfielder position. The Wolves-and/or-Cooperation were the lucky beneficiaries of the single-entry raffle, according to Ahmed Al-Amir.

“Kaku was presented to all the professional league clubs and most of their coaches,” shared the legal expert on social media platform Twitter. “Unfortunately, the player was rejected. This is clear evidence of the failed method used to sign foreign players by our clubs.”

Thankfully everything worked out in the end. Al-Taawoun signed a fantastic player. Kaku is thriving for club and country. The Red Bulls are… exploring the American legal system. All parties are satisfied.

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I must inform you that the snake is once again eating itself.

Manager Valérien Ismaël took over for Gerhard Struber at Barnsley, moving over from LASK. The Frenchman led The Tykes to a spot in the Championship playoffs, a stunning achievement for a club that had only narrowly staved off relegation the previous season. With suitors coming once again to raid the Oakwell, he decided to take over West Bromwich Albion, which recently dropped down after a 19th place finish in the Premier League.

Barnsley is reportedly once again turning to Austria for the next potential hire. According to Kleine Zeitung, former New York Red Bull Markus Schopp is the top candidate for the role, described as “the logical successor.” The 47-year-old recently signed a contract extension with TSV Hartberg, but sporting contracts are rarely an indication of loyalty.

Schopp joined New York in 2006 on loan from Salzburg. He spent parts of two seasons on loan at the club, making two total appearances and registering one assist. His tenure at the club ended with an all too familiar retirement.

Perhaps this manager will stay at Barnsley for longer than a year, viewing South Yorkshire as a destination instead of a stepping stone.

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Everyone likes Fábio. He scores goals and assists on more. Here for the rest of the year, at least, fans and opponents should get used to seeing him work all over the field. But how does the Brazilian striker feel about things?

“I’m very happy to be able to help my team because the important thing is to always come out with victories,” Fábio told Brazilian daily publication Lance. “Regardless of whether I’m going to score or give an assist, I’m very happy to contribute to my team in the best possible way. I feel privileged to be wearing this shirt and acting in the same position as [Thierry] Henry. He made history at the club and I’m going to make my own here too. This is a source of pride not only for the fans, but also for my family to be a reference for them.”

Did you know that a popular pizza topping in Brazil is hard-boiled eggs? Do you think Fábio eats that? I bet he doesn’t.

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In advance of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Guadeloupe took on Martinique in a friendly. Les Gwada Boys (the former) emerged victorious over Les Matinino (the latter), 2-1. Luther Archimède was on the roster, but from reading various (two) match recaps I can’t quite figure out if he played or not. Hopefully the 21-year-old first-round MLS SuperDraft managed to snag a few minutes, as it would be beneficial for the New York Red Bulls II striker to receive some semblance of meaningful match experience after six months of not appearing in the USL Championship.

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Hey, we like to have fun around here. Let’s have some fun.

Luton Town midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe turned down a two-year contract extension and now has offers from all over. One of those places is in MLS from an unknown club. Could the 28-year-old be on the way to the Red Bulls?

That’s probably not going to happen. However, he did spend part of 2014 on loan at Blackburn Rovers. Who was the club’s Head of Performance Analysis at the time? It was none other than now-former New York head of scouting Paul Fernie.

I’m not saying anything, but perhaps a team needing midfield depth with a penchant for English players would kick the tires on someone fitting both of those classifications.

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Let’s have some more fun because I’m bored.

Here’s a story from Bolavip detailing that “several” MLS clubs put in a loan offer for Santiago Moreno. The 21-year-old Colombian midfielder/winger competes for América de Cali and has attracted interest from a variety of clubs. He’s contributed six goals and four assists this season across all competitions.

América de Cali is uninterested in a loan, instead looking to sell the player. Scottish giants Rangers were rebuffed, with the Colombian outfit valuing the player at “well over €3 million.” Perhaps recently hired manager Juan Carlos Osorio can put in a good word for the Red Bulls.

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Another story on this guy? Sure, let’s do that.

In what is a rare moment of controversy for Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra, the Argentine-Paraguayan attacker attracted some online criticism while playing at the Copa América. At halftime of what ended up being a 1-0 loss to La Albiceleste, he was reportedly spotted exchanging jerseys with Lionel Messi. This could perhaps be viewed as poor timing, although the situation was truly a tempest in a maté teapot as both nations advanced to the knockout rounds.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Frances of Wildwood.

Hopefully Messi didn’t hide a contract extension in that jersey.

Thank you, Frances. That would be a silly manner in which to deliver legal documentation.

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