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Red Bulls Paper Revue: February 7, 2022

Luquinhas inches closer, Fabio scores for the first time at his new club, John Rooney goes back home and more in this week’s links

Soccer - Emirates Cup 2011 - Paris Saint Germain v New York Red Bulls - Emirates Stadium
Former Red Bull John Rooney is back on his old stomping grounds at Barrow.
Photo by Neil Tingle/PA Images via Getty Images

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

A familiar and common trivia question asks the identity of Captain Ahab’s first/chief mate. Most people possess a mere passing familiarity with Moby-Dick and bleat out an answer of “Ishmael,” the only other name from the novel with which they are familiar. This facile level of intellect permeates our society, with charlatans skating along the thinnest veneers of style over substance, never held to account for their air-putting.

Captain Ahab’s first mate is, of course, named… that other guy… who is… someone.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Lucas Lima Linhares, also known as Luquinhas, appears to be on his way somewhere. The Brazilian attacker was left out of the match-day roster for Legia Warsaw’s recent 3-1 win over Zagłębie Lubin. His presence or lack thereof was a main topic of discussion surrounding the match.

“I am definitely interested in the Luquinhas situation, but that’s a different topic entirely,” said manager Aleksandar Vuković. “There is a lot of interest, there are talks. There is a possibility that this transfer will take place. I will not be ahead of the facts right now, but in such situations I am not inclined to cry… The player is, it seems, close to signing a contract with another club, there are advanced talks and it can happen at almost any time. If we knew that it would not come to this, then Luquinhas would of course be taken into account when determining the squad for the game. But for the moment, it isn’t.”

Luquinhas appears to be on his way to the Red Bulls. The question is, will the club be deploying a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-2-1? Perhaps the three-man backline will see a return. Oh, the possibilities are endless.

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To the disappointment of Racing Club in Argentina, Olé reports that Andrés Cubas “in the end will not leave France.” According to another source, the midfielder’s rehabilitation is expected to end “in mid-March” (not to be confused with Middlemarch, the fictional town from Middlemarch). This delay has caused interest from Boca Juniors to “cool down quite a bit.”

I can think of a club that might be willing to wait for the midfielder, one that competes in a league in which matches don’t particularly matter until September at the earliest.

***

Another former Red Bull has a new club.

Luca Lewis has signed with A.C. Cesena through the end of the season. He was training while looking for his next move. His father, who is the Serie C club’s co-president, was not kept in the loop on the deal, according to Cesena Today.

“Luca Lewis will be a part of the Cesena group until June,” said a club official. “We believe in him and we are convinced we have made the right choice. He had some opportunities in Serie B, but we preferred to keep him here. In June we will see what happens.”

I Cavallucci Marini (The Seahorses/Seahorsies) is currently at third in Group B (Centre) of the third tier and should easily claim a spot in the promotion playoffs. The next match is… today(!) against second-place Modena F.C. 2018. Lewis is, of course, not the only reinforcement this winter, as Cesena also signed Dominik Frieser, an Austrian midfielder most recently at Barnsley who was considered a favorite for Gerhard Struber.

***

Only two appearances were needed for Fábio Gomes to open his account with Atlético Mineiro. The Brazilian forward scored in the 4-0 win over Uberlândia in the Campeonato Mineiro. He was fairly excited after “not leaving a good impression” in his debut. Globo gave him a 7.5 for his performance, describing him as “opportunistic” and “effective.”

“Firstly, it’s to thank God for everything he is doing in my life,” Fábio enthused after the match. “We see that, with work and dedication, goals come naturally. [It] helped in this match with the assist and the goal.”

According to Superesportes, the forward “moved well, bothered the opponent’s marking system, and helped to open spaces for the midfielders.” That is, of course, to be expected from Fábio. He is a force of nature, altering opponent’s plans with his mere existence.

Any reports of him ripping up a photo of Kevin Thelwell and yelling “NOT WORTH THE TRANSFER FEE, HUH?” are sadly fictional.

***

Issiar Dramé seems to be settling in nicely at PFK Lviv. Manager Oleg Dulub is “satisfied” with the newcomer. The club returns from the winter break with a Premier Liga match against FK Oleksandriya on February 26th.

***

A new challenger entered and exited the ring.

According to Football Scotland, Fortuna Sittard was in negotiations to sign Ismaila Soro on a loan deal. The Eredivisie side is “prepared to pay just half of the player’s wages with a purchase option factored into any potential deal.” There are also “several clubs around Europe as well as a handful of MLS outfits monitoring the situation should any hiccups arise.”

But apparently Celtic never drank water while balancing a knife on the nose because Soro stayed at the club. “With guys like Soro it’s about trying to help them and if they get opportunities elsewhere to try and facilitate that,” said manager Ange Postecoglou. “There was a complication with Holland because unfortunately he needed to have a work permit sorted for us to do a deal. That didn’t happen. But with him and a couple of others there are still markets open and he is training well and available.”

I wonder what markets are still available. I do wonder, indeed. Perhaps that could be the American market, but we mustn’t assume.

***

According to a report from the Swindon Advertiser, Swindon Town was looking to sign Mandela Egbo. The 24-year-old spent a few weeks training with the League Two side and “would offer competition at right wing-back.” Unfortunately, there was no official announcement, which could mean many things.

***

I don’t think anyone believes Tyler Adams will stay at RB Leipzig forever. According to Calcio Mercato, AC Milan is eyeing the midfielder as a potential replacement for Franck Kessie who is due to leave next summer. Technical director Paolo Maldini is said to desire “the flexible American” and “seems to want to be seduced” by him, which is a role reversal of my usual fantasies involving Italian men.

Next summer should be a big summer for Adams, with recent rumors of Arsenal and Manchester United on the hunt. New York would, of course, be the recipient of a reported 33% sell-on provision. The allocation shall rain from the sky like manna from heaven.

***

TSV Hartberg is headed to the semifinals of the ÖFB Cup on the wings of Youba Diarra. The Malian midfielder registered the match-winning assist in the 45th minute, helping take down Rapid Wien by a 2-1 margin. He went on a charging run from the center circle, reached the box, and found Phillipp Sturm with a perfect pass.

Here are the match highlights via Wiener TV (stop laughing), with Diarra’s wonderful solo effort starting at the 00:01:50 mark.

***

In hot, spicy Belgian First Division B action, KVC Westerlo faced off against City Football Group subsidiary Lommel SK. De Kemphanen (The Ruffs) came away with a 3-0 at the fortress of Het Kuipje. David Jensen started and registered yet another shutout, laughing his way to promotion.

***

Former Red Bulls SuperDraft selection John Rooney has a new club. Well, it’s actually an old club, as the 31-year-old midfielder has signed for Barrow “on a two-and-a-half-year deal.” The League Two Bluebirds forked over “an undisclosed fee to Stockport County.”

Rooney carried Barrow to promotion in 2020, scoring 20 goals and being named National League Player of the Year by various publications. Despite departing the club, management “kept tabs on his progress” and “moved quickly to rubber stamp his return.” Close to the bottom of the table, perhaps his attacking prowess will help stave off the dreaded drop.

***

Fidel Escobar is also on the move.

Having played a mere 28 league minutes since early November, the Panamanian defender needed a break from AD Alcorcón. He was sent on loan to Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa of the third-tier Primera División RFEF through the end of the season. La Cultu is currently at tenth place in the 20-team Group 1 table, looking unlikely to engage in promotion or relegation fights.

***

One-time Red Bull multi-hyphenate Rafael Díaz has a new club. After three seasons with Sacramento Republic FC, the Dominican Republic international landed at Monterey Bay in the USL Championship. The experienced 30-year-old goalkeeper is set to lead the expansion side into a bright new tomorrow, making the wise decision to stay in sunny California.

***

Former Red Bulls goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell hung up his boots. The 34-year-old most recently with the Toronto FC organization announced the end of his playing career. His résumé includes stops at… well, *deep breath*, Anderlecht, Sheffield Wednesday, Liverpool, Toowoomba Raiders, Mt. Gravatt Hawks, Cleveland City Stars, Carolina RailHawks, Miami FC, Atlético CP, Vitória de Setúbal, Gil Vicente, Farense, and the Jacksonville Armada.

Patterson-Sewell was signed by the Red Bulls in 2008, departed the club at the end of the season, and then rejoined again for the 2009 preseason. After moving to the RailHawks, he was brought back to New York on a short-term loan due to “extreme hardship.” Somehow, the club maintained his rights for years and received a fourth-round 2019 SuperDraft selection from Toronto in 2018. That pick became Sean McSherry, who retired after a single season that included eight appearances with the reserves and a brace against Sporting Kansas City II.

Patterson-Sewell might be considered a footnote in Red Bulls history, albeit one with a high word count.

***

Ex-Academy defender/striker Ismar Tandir has been around the world. The 26-year-old enjoyed stints in Iceland, Spain, Serbia, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Now there’s a new stamp on his passport.

Tandir is currently on the books at Mohammedan SC. He joined the club in December, filling the fifth foreign roster spot. The Kolkata-based Black Panthers compete in the first-division I-League (not to be confused with the other national top tier, Indian Super League) and the state-level Calcutta Football League.

Mohammedan was established in 1891 but has never claimed the top division title. The pursuit of history will have to wait as the league is on a pandemic break through March 3rd. When the schedule resumes, Tandir will surely bang in a few goals, as is to be expected from the 6’5” striker.

***

Former Red Bulls youth coach Johnathan McKinstry sat down for a chat with the Mirror, discussing his career journey. The former Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and Uganda manager is looking for his next job, but there is no rush. He may even land in the Americas and is working on his Spanish.

“Manager and club relationships are a bit like food recipes: you need to get the right ingredients if the combination is going to work,” said McKinstry. “From my perspective, I present to clubs or FAs who I am and what I can bring to that club so we need to find out if that is the right ingredient for who they are and what they need. Coaches will have positions come up that are a great fit for them, but there are plenty of bad jobs or bad relationships that you can encounter – and that can damage your reputation or your self-belief.”

Who knows where he will land next? I sort of admire his willingness to take any job possible, regardless of location. We should all look to emulate McKinstry by leaving our comfort zones, but maybe wait until tomorrow… or next week.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Aurelia of Egg Harbor Township.

Not just manager-and-club but all relationships are like recipes: they work best when I’m not involved.

Thank you, Aurelia. Some people are better off alone.

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