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Red Bulls Paper Revue: January 31, 2022

Fábio makes his Atlético Mineiro debut, a longtime fan joins the physiotherapy department, and Amir Murillo gets a second yellow on purpose in this week’s links

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MLS: New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire
Did Michael Amir Murillo get suspended from the Belgian league on purpose?
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Red Bulls Paper Revue presented by Once a Metro.

Did you shovel snow? Maybe you’re one of those lucky people who don’t have to worry about things like that. Sometimes I dream about moving to a Mississippi resort town and working as a bartender, enjoying whatever it is they do down there.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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You’ve probably heard by now, but Issiar Dramé has signed with FC Lviv of the Ukrainian Premier League. He completed a deal through the end of the season “with the possibility of further extension.” The club is at 12th in the 16-team table, three points above the relegation playoff zone. Perhaps the new center back can help stave off the drop, returning to a country with which the Frenchman is familiar.

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Caden Clark seems to be nearing a return.

According to German media, Leipzig is “negotiating a loan to New York.” The midfielder “should collect match experience in his home country” and “the length of the loan is still being discussed.” The potential for a purchase option is, “of course, not included.”

Philipp Hinze of Sky Sports reports that there is “no time pressure” to complete the deal, although with less than a month until the season starts, ah, you know.

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Former reserve team defender Emir Tombul has joined Fussball Club Wil 1900 of the second-tier Swiss Challenge League. The 21-year-old made 30 appearances last season in the USL Championship, but the club declined his contract option. This is a return to the land of chocolate and cheese (Switzerland, you uncultured swine) for a player who spent several years in the academies of FC Rapperswil-Jona and Grasshopper Club Zürich.

“Emir has interesting physical and technical skills,” said head of sport Jan Breitenmoser. “Thanks to his previous career, he also has a great deal of experience and a strong personality despite his young age. We are very much looking forward to the forthcoming cooperation.”

FC Wil is currently at eighth in the ten-team Challenge League. Only the cellar dwellers are relegated to the coincidentally-named Swiss Promotion League, which is clearly going to be SC Kriens, on six points from 18 matches. Tombul’s contract lasts through the summer of 2022, which should be enough time to establish a spot in the rotation.

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KVC Westerlo had an up-and-down week. The Belgian First Division B leaders notched a 2-0 win over RWD Molenbeek. However, that was followed up by a 2-1 loss to Waasland-Beveren. A seven-point lead atop the table still has the club feeling upbeat about promotion.

On-loan goalkeeper David Jensen started both matches and was quite ready for a setback. “We’re not working on [the title] yet,” said the 29-year-old during the winter break. “A possible defeat is a possibility in the coming weeks. We all know that because you can’t win everything in one season. We take it into account, but it certainly won’t knock us off our feet. On the contrary, it will make us even stronger. After all, the mindset in this group is so good that I have complete confidence in it. We all started a project together and we believe in it one hundred percent. There are no weak opponents in this series, but with the football we bring, we should be able to beat everyone.”

Will Westerlo keep him around next season? Does the club have an option-to-buy? These are all good questions and his sudden reappearance on the Red Bulls roster in July would certainly cause some salary cap issues.

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Fábio Gomes made his debut for Atlético Mineiro, starting in a 1-1 draw against Villa Nova. His performance was described as “disappointing” and “discreet,” particularly after smashing a good opportunity over the crossbar. However, this was considered a reserve squad, with the striker “hampered by the lack of a team.”

Fábio was not included in the squad for the next match, a 3-0 victory over Tombense.

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Here’s a story submitted by the roving head of our Amherst and Vail bureaus Eric Friedlander.

The Red Bulls have a new staff member.

Mike Staropoli announced his appointment to the role of first-team physiotherapist. “It’s an honor to be joining a club I’ve been supporting since the league started,” the doctor wrote on Instagram. “As we are headed to the start of the preseason, I’m looking forward to working with our incredible staff and team.”

Staropoli earned his doctorate in physical therapy from Sacred Heart University. He owns the company Goal Physiotherapy and Sport Performance located in Westport, Connecticut.

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Esbjerg fB made the deal official, announcing the signing of Mathias Jørgensen. The Danish striker inked a three-year contract through the end of 2024 (which would appear to make him a mid-season free agent). The club was intrigued by his fit and experience with the high-pressing style.

“Mathias Jørgensen is a fast, explosive striker, which we are very excited to associate with the squad,” said executive Jens Hammer Sørensen. “Mathias broke through in the Super League at an early age and was sold to the United States, where he played for the New York Red Bulls, which is one of the best schools in the world in the field of press play. It is no secret that we in Esbjerg will play with aggressive pressure, and Mathias Jørgensen will be an important asset for us in that regard, so we are happy that we managed to make a long-term agreement.”

The 21-year-old was impressed by Esbjerg’s facilities and ambitions. “After being abroad for a few years, I see this as a kind of new start for me, and I have a really good feeling about my choice,” shared Jørgensen. “And even though we play in the second best row, the facilities and ambitions are for more, which suits me well, but first and foremost we have to work hard in the spring season and get built on.”

Esbjerg is located in West Jutland and hosts home matches at the lovely Blue Water Arena. The club is owned by Chien Lee, who also holds stakes in Barnsley, FC Thun, K.V. Oostende, AS Nancy, and Den Bosch. Currently at eighth place in the second-tier table, Jørgensen would ideally aid fellow striker Elias Sörensen and his team-leading eight goals.

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Christian Fuchs has begun his American journey in the great state of North Carolina. The Charlotte FC fullback took to the pages of Kronen Zeitung to write about the state of the league and a growing Austrian influence. Of course, a certain manager and countryman came up.

“I’m also curious to see how Gerhard Struber will fare with RB New York,” wrote Fuchs. “I have met him several times, [and] we are in regular contact. [He’s] a really cool guy!”

I wonder what the two discuss together. They probably talk about Austrian things, like… Mozart. I’m sure soccer comes up too.

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Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra had “a successful surgery on the cruciate ligament of his left knee.” At his preference, the procedure was performed in Argentina “at the hands of Dr. Jorge Pablo Batista.” He now begins a “six-month rehabilitation program.”

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Oh, that Amir Murillo!

The Panamanian got a little cheeky in a recent press conference following Anderlecht’s 1-0 victory over K.V. Mechelen. He received a yellow card for time wasting, which resulted in a suspension that precludes his participation in the upcoming fixture against Cercle Brugge. Coincidentally, Murillo can now head to international duty guilt-free, claiming to have “already thought of a few solutions to be sure to” receive a caution from the official, soliciting guffaws from assembled media.

“Yes, I took the card intentionally and that way of doing it seemed the best to me,” said the right back. “Leaving Anderlecht now is a shame, of course, because I want to help him finish the season well. But you also have to understand that any ambitious player wants to defend his country, certainly when he is more than ever in the race to participate in the World Cup.”

Manager Vincent Kompany appeared a little less amused. “We don’t need to give instructions to the players, who are old enough to know what is at stakes,” shared the former player. “Somewhere, Murillo will be ‘sanctioned’ in the league to join his selection and there we avoid a double penalty in a way.”

Speaking of the former Red Bulls fullback, he will likely be staying in Belgium, contrary to the rumors floating around over the past month. While connected to Spartak Moscow (a very old story that somehow cropped up again), movement has failed to occur. According to Larry Henry Jr. of Soccer By Ives, “Anderlecht had planned on signing [Brian] Reynolds to replace former New York Red Bull Michael Murillo, but Murillo wound up staying.”

Dylan Butler reported a sell-on fee upon Murillo’s sale in 2019. The Red Bulls will clearly have to wait a little longer to cash in. Patience is a virtue, which is much easier to maintain than temperance or kindness.

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If the Red Bulls are still pursuing Andrés Cubas, another competitor entered the ring.

According to Wilson Pimentel of Torcedores, Racing of Argentina has “already started talks with Nîmes and is considering making an offer in the coming days.” This is in addition to the “formalized proposal from Internacional for a one-year loan with an option to purchase economic rights.” Curiously, the report lists the Portland Timbers as the interested MLS party and not the Red Bulls.

At the moment, Cubas is recovering from “a sprained right knee,” which gives him plenty of time to focus on transfer drama. I’m sure he’s pressing the F5 button like the rest of us. Or perhaps the midfielder is engaging in more valid pursuits like spending time with family or video games.

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Speaking of transfer rumors from yesterweek, Ismaila Soro remains on the fringes of the Celtic squad.

The midfielder has played a grand total of two minutes since October. However, he has made Ange Postecoglou’s bench three times in the past four matches, which is a dramatic improvement from not being included in the match-day squad. David Walton of 67 Hail Hail considers Soro’s exit “an immediate priority” as “his performances have regressed [to the] bottom of the pecking order.”

Perhaps a move to a destination unknown would be in the best interests for everyone.

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Chris Duvall didn’t wait long after retiring from an eight-year playing career. The former Red Bull joined the coaching staff at the Charleston Battery. The storied USL outfit recently changed managers, appointing Conor Casey to replace the legendary Mike Anhaeuser.

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Two years ago, the Red Bulls made a “seven-figure bid” for Leonardo da Silva Lopes. “There was talk [of a transfer], but Hull wouldn’t let me go then,” said the midfielder. “Paul Mitchell was the head of recruitment there at the time and I don’t think he had forgotten me when he signed for AS Monaco as sporting director.”

Instead of New York, Lopes eventually ended up at Cercle Brugge for a fee in the range of 1.5 million pounds, a reported 300,000 less than the sum offered by the Red Bulls. The Belgian outfit is owned by AS Monaco. The 23-year-old Portugal youth international has made 23 total appearances this season, with Groen en Zwart (Green and Black) at seventh place in the table.

Aren’t the failed transfers of the past so interesting?

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Anastasia of Middletown.

I used to hate Belgians, but then the doctor told me I have gluten intolerance.

Thank you, Anastasia. You’ll have to send me your recipe for gluten-free waffles.

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