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Red Bulls Paper Revue: November 28, 2022

The Kaku contract case is close to a ruling, Gerhard Struber thinks the Twitter experts are after Gareth Southgate, and Hans Backe discusses his days at Harrison in this week’s links

DC United v New York Red Bulls - Eastern Conference Semifinals
Hans Backe had a lot to say in Qatar about his days at Red Bull.
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

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

You cannot enjoy the film Jackie Brown (1997) without watching the prequel, Alligator (1980). Quentin Tarantino has expressed that the late actor Robert Forster plays the same character in both films, noting how the latter had a profound impact on the former. I expect you to drop whatever you’re doing and take care of this oversight right now. If you haven’t seen either, then don’t bother because you’re already hopeless.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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The New York Red Bulls are inching closer to finalizing the move for Elias Manoel. The Brazilian attacker showed flashes last season and should take a big step forward in 2023. Of course, the negotiations with Grêmio have gone a bit back and forth, as the initially agreed-upon loan-to-buy clause was deemed flexible.

Brazilian jornalista João Batista Filho has details on the reported move, including some intriguing clauses. “In total, the operation should move $1.4 million, but the real thing is that the agreement has been modified in recent days and ended up generating some performance clauses, at the request of the American club,” he writes. “Elias was loaned for $150,000, which was already paid in the middle of the year. Now, [New York] is sending over 1 million dollars to buy [him]. This amount will now enter in the next few days. But the contract has two productivity clauses that will be triggered according to the number of games there. Each clause is an additional $150,000, which means that there is another 300 thousand dollars that could arrive in 2023.”

Grêmio is not the only club to receive some money, as Guarani is set to collect a few Brazilian reals. According to Futebol Interior, the total due is around 7%. Elias was a part of the Campinas outfit’s academy before leaving in 2016.

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Guest columns are all the rage these days, and Kurier found quite the person to pen an opinion piece. None other than Gerhard Struber is splashed across the pages, discussing the World Cup fixture between the United States Men’s National Team and Ing-ger-lind. He provided a brief tactical breakdown but also notably touched on the mental challenges associated with international football.

“This massive pressure on the team can turn into its opposite,” wrote Struber. “And Gareth Southgate will be a big part of that. It’s not just that as a team boss he has developed really good ideas for every phase of the game and an unbelievable variability in their direction. He takes it all in the front row and has been smashed by the English press. It impresses me when a coach feels such brutal pressure as he did in the case of Harry Maguire and yet he remains true to his beliefs. Southgate didn’t care what everyone wrote about his defensive boss. He stuck to his guns and preceded him as a real leader. This leadership can become a crucial factor as the tournament progresses.”

The Austrian notes that Americans are “known for thinking big,” which is either praise or subtle criticism of the country’s notably larger portions sizes.

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Speaking of Gerhard Struber, one of his former assistants is in the press… speaking of Gerhard Struber.

Former poker player Maximilian Senft quit the table grind and embraced football, working his way up through the ranks. He was on the staff at Wolfsberger AC and brought to Barnsley FC, working under Struber. The Red Bulls manager made a profound impact on his former assistant.

“[I am] very demanding for the players, but with a large portion of empathy,” Senft told Laola1. “One of the core competencies of a coach is to combine the strategic element with energy and emotion, which probably even outweighs the strategic on the pitch. As far as football is concerned, my time as an assistant coach under Thomas Letsch and Gerhard Struber has of course influenced me by defending forwards. I want us to actively move the opponent into space and ultimately find the goalkeeper’s back, i.e. the goal.”

He described his time at Barnsley as being like “Hollywood,” with the magical ending to the 2019/20 season that saw the club escape relegation. Scheft then moved to SC Pinkafeld and is currently managing the SV Ried reserve team in the third-tier Austria Regionalliga Mitte. The 33-year-old is also working on his UEFA License, which should open up even more doors in his career.

Haha, he gets to have two awesome careers: poker and soccer managing! I’m very happy for him! I love when people succeed in life and am not jealous at all! Haha!

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Things are happening in Europe.

According to chatter out of Italy, Football Club Internazionale Milano is in discussions with the Red Bull football group about “possible opportunities to coordinate their scouting operations.” Tuttosport reports that sporting director Piero Ausilio met with technical director Mario Gómez, and “further talks are planned.” The partnership would involve “identifying young talent.

The Red Bull organization is renowned for player scouting, from the general apparatus to best practices. Other clubs should attempt to emulate or even poach executive talent. However, this collaboration could represent a step in a different direction, sharing resources between two groups that will rarely be in direct on-field competition outside of the occasional continental fixture.

Based on a few different stories, Gómez is handling at least some of the transfer and other assorted business for Red Bull. As the organization shifts following the promotion of Oliver Mintzlaff, there have been questions as to what the responsibilities will be for the retired striker. Right now, the answer appears to be “everything.”

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A Cranes soccer legend went home and watched some footy in Kampala. Ibrahim Sekagya hung out with Jackson Mayanja at a Uganda Premier League between Uganda Revenue Authority SC and Vipers SC. The latter side triumphed, 1-0, and rose to third in the table.

You may be wondering if there are any Ugandan prospects who could join the Red Bulls.

My question is, did Sekagya enjoy Thanksgiving dinner or was he already in Uganda on Thursday?

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Remember that whole Kaku situation? No, not that one. I’m talking about the other one with his contract.

Al-Riyadiah reports that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is set to hear four cases involving clubs in Saudi Arabia which “entered into contractual disputes with a number of players.” You may recall that the New York Red Bulls disputed Kaku’s free-agent signing with Al-Taawoun FC, claiming that the Argentine-Paraguayan attacker had already agreed to an extension. The ruling is set to be released on December 8th.

I, for one, plan on hosting a massive “Kaku arbitration decision” party, and you’re all invited!

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There are a lot of big names in Qatar at the moment, perhaps none more important than Hans Backe.

Greek outlet Gazzetta got THE big interview with the manager-cum-commentator. Backe had a very, very brief stint in Hellas, leading Panathinaikos from July through September in 2006. He claims to have learned a lot during those months, which is probably code for “I hated it.”

Of course, you’re probably more interested in what he had to say about his time in New York. “The owner of Red Bull, [the late Dietrich Mateschitz], had initially told me that he would not invest in soccer because it is a boring sport that teams have learned to play in parallel,” said Backe (via Google Translate). “He then hired [Ralf Rangnick] and asked him to take risks. He had characteristically told him that he sees no problem in losing the ball. He wanted a very high tempo in the matches, very well-trained players who would not tire of running and the number of sprints they could do in a match would be phenomenal. One can see this now in Leipzig as well. When he saw what he had in mind materializing, he decided to invest because now the racing philosophy was in line with the company’s policy in terms of commercial matters.”

The deceased owner appears to have had quite a few opinions on soccer, which eventually convinced the sporting figures in the organization. “The motto of the company is that ‘Red Bull gives [wings]!’” continued the 70-year-old Swede. “Of course, the way a team plays is decided by the coach, however, Mateschitz was clear that he wants to see more entertaining football. That’s how he built the New York Red Bulls, Salzburg and Leipzig. He set up academies in Ghana and Brazil to produce young players who would then be sold. And, indeed, there are many footballers who have taken their first steps in the Red Bull academies and today they are at the highest level. Now I understand why Mateschitz was telling me that there is no interest in seeing defenders pass the ball to the player next to them and that it is not fun for the spectators.”

Now, during Backe’s tenure, the Red Bulls weren’t exactly playing “energy-drink soccer.” In fact, observers may remember how his teams tended to hoard possession to the point of ridicule. When the teams weren’t attempting to pass their way to Valhalla, the manager employed what he termed “cynical” soccer, which I guess could be viewed through a kaleidoscope as some sort of primordial, proto-, or archaic Neanderthalian offshoot of a gegenpress.

Anyway, I recommend that you read the full interview. The sections involving dealing with the Greek chain of command are interesting. His advice on making sure your message gets conveyed directly instead of through allegedly hostile intermediaries is a fairly universal truth.

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Remember when we talked about World Cup guest columns?

Well, Joel Lindpere has one too. He put pen to paper for Estonian outlet Delfi Sport. The retired midfielder wrote a recap of the match between the United States and Wales.

“It was good to see several former teammates and friends, such as US defender Tim Ream, who we played with in the New York Red Bulls,” wrote Lindpere. “I have played against Gareth Bale, among others. All this gives watching the game a special feeling and makes you pay attention.”

I’m glad Lindpere feels special. It’s not even his birthday, which is October 5th. Happy belated 41st birthday from all of us at Once a Metro, except for Oakland bureau chief Juan Mesa, who said he doesn’t care.

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Just because the World Cup is ongoing doesn’t mean the employment grind stops.

Juan Carlos Osorio has already thrown his hypothetical hat into the ring to lead Argentina in the future. The former Red Bulls manager is currently on the lookout after a stint with América de Cali [Always to be referred to as “América” and never “Cali” – the latter is reserved for Deportivo Cali.], currently hanging around Qatar for the occasional pop-in on ESPN. He took the time to make his dream known.

“Yes, I would like to (work in Argentina),” said Osorio. “In the next project that I want to be, I would love for it to be a very competitive football and I think it is the most competitive in South America. I like the challenge. We must not leave it aside: There are soccer cultures that compete from the physiological point of view, from being stronger, faster, more powerful... And there are others that compete from the volitional, from the will and character, and I think that the great example is Argentina, then Uruguay. There you don’t have to talk, harangue, or motivate anyone.”

You know, if you’re looking, Argentina. If not, then Osorio is totally cool. He doesn’t really want the job, but if it’s open, ha ha, you know who to call… if you want. Totally your choice!

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When the people of Yorkshire need some dirt on the United States, there’s only one man to turn to: Tom Edwards.

The Barnsley defender was in the center of a war of words between the Red Bulls’ American and English players. The tenor of the conversations hit a fever pitch as last season, especially after the World Cup draw. If you want to know what was going on and the topics of discussion in the locker room, he has you covered.

“There were maybe only three or four English lads in the changing room, but we always gave a bit of stick and that was always going to happen,” Edwards told the Yorkshire Post. “It used to go back and forth... One hundred per cent, it feels like a derby. The English lads all talk about English football and they always talk about their side and we go back and forth on that as well... They want to try and prove a point and make sure it is called ‘soccer.’ It has never been called soccer; it’s always been called football.”

Edwards is also experiencing opponents going out of their way to prevent him from utilizing long throw-ins, as the sideline towels used for drying are being dropped in puddles and sprayed with water. “It’s a good threat to have and I am sure we will get a few goals from them,” shared the 23-year-old. “I have heard about [the sabotage] and the officials don’t really help me on that. But that’s always going to happen in football.”

Tune in next week when Edwards does another dozen interviews about the United States and throw-ins. Until then, enjoy this quite nifty goal he scored in Barnsley’s 2-1 loss to Port Vale in the second round of the Football League Trophy. The finish is quite nice.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Nettie of West Windsor.

I’m glad Edwards was able to finish against Port Vale, something he couldn’t manage to do with his Red Bulls contract.

Thank you, Nettie. Technically, the end of his second loan was a “mutual termination.”

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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.