There’s not much to say about the New York Red Bulls
that hasn’t already been opined by people far more knowledgeable than me. That said, I’ve seen some things, and those things seem almost predetermined to repeat ad-infinitum. Namely, that the team will win and win and win during the regular season. That they will put together a cutting-edge squad capable of amassing points-totals that put our Eastern Conference rivals to shame. I can almost hear the eyes rolling and the tired refrain “That’s So Metro.”
Call me crazy, but under the steady hand of Kevin Thelwell in the front office and the steady jaw of Gerhard Struber on the sideline, something feels… different. Red Bulls fans have looked on in frustration as we reached seemingly-new heights only for our nemeses to innovate in ways the hasn’t even conceived of, i.e. spending big on players who by all accounts should be plying their trades in Europe, hiring managers with considerable pedigrees, or just plain having that old “team of destiny” feel that’s eluded us for so long, but can come so incredibly in handy during the crap-shoot that is the American playoffs system.
The options outlined are decidedly attacking in nature. That seems to be the trending direction with Marc Rzatkowski
having departed and Kaku seemingly forcing a winter move to Mexico. The defense seems stout for the time being, with Colombian Andres Reyes
reportedly coming in at center back. All of him, Aaron Long
, Tim Parker, Amro Tarek
, and Sean Nealis
under contract, albeit with Parker reportedly being shopped around the league.
When reading this list, keep in mind that it remains incredibly unlikely that the Red Bulls actually sign some of these players. Others seem more reasonable to acquire. But each, as far as I’m concerned, would represent a new level of ambition and savvy by our front office. We are all understandably desperate to see some real intent to catapult us back among the league’s elite clubs.
Okay, let me be clear: there’s no way in H-E double hockey sticks that the New York Red Bulls will buy this Hale End academy product. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t possible have him suit up for the team!
It will seem like a long shot.. But as Balogun languishes on Mikel Arteta
’s bench behind the likes of Alexandre Lacazette
and Eddie Nketiah
, our parent club, RB Leipzig, a have emerged as suitors for the want-away striker. Let’s say this move happens, but perhaps Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann
doesn’t see an immediate place for Balogun in an already crowded squad. The name of the game is playing time, right?!?
So they ship him off on loan to somewhere his talents can really shine: the halcyon pastures of Harrison, New Jersey, USA. I’m sure Jesse Marsch
could put in a good word with the RB Group. Let’s not forget that Balogun is a USMNT-eligible fellow. Maybe, just maybe, some stateside soccer could be just what he needs to commit to the red, white, and blue.
And what a splash he would make. The overlap on the Venn-diagram of RBNY and Arsenal fans is significant. I’ll admit that I fall into that category, due to the immense influence of one Thierry Henry
. From a marketing standpoint, even a short-term play for Balogun could open up that pipeline once again.
Feasibility rating: 0/5
2) Chukwubuike Adamu, FW – RB Salzburg:
I know the team has a significant amount of trauma associated with loans from the mother clubs. I, for one, occasionally awaken in a cold sweat as the names Fredrik Gulbrandsen and Omer Damari float menacingly out of the mouths of hobgoblins. Their failures to make an impact, however, should not preclude us from making similar moves in the future. Apparently, both Thelwell and Struber have been clear that moves from Salzburg to Jersey are imminent.
Adamu seems to be a guy who fits the bill. RBNY is thin at forward, and I can’t stomach another season of watching our only attacking option off the bench be *gulp* Tom Barlow
. The Nigerian-born, Austrian youth international Adamu has a lower profile than that of fellow up-and-comer Luca Sucic
. However, at RB Salzburg farm team Liefering, he proved himself a legitimate goal-scorer. He’s young, physical, and, most notably, not Mathias Jorgensen
. He hasn’t quite blown the doors off on his way into the first team, so a young guy on the cusp of playing full-international soccer might just be keen to explore this opportunity. I don’t know terribly much about him, but there’s the Jesse connection, the Rassenballsport connection, and we’re desperate, so why the heck not?
Feasibility rating: 3/5
3) Dom Dwyer, FW – Free Agent
I know what you’re thinking. But, as I’ve outlined here, the Red Bulls need a Fox-in-the-box type striker, capable of converting half-chances. Dwyer, for all his faults, has experience with the physicality and travel requirements of our dear little league. Coming off a major injury and a disappointing tenure in Orlando, Dwyer will possibly be primed for a comeback season. This is all provided he be willing to take a sizable pay-cut. He’s currently a free agent, and will certainly end up somewhere in MLS. RBNY just might be a fit, at least in the short term.
Feasibility rating: 4/5
A young American who turned down a scholarship from UCLA to stake out a claim for himself in Glasgow, Harper is currently linked with a return to the states. He’s trained in Scotland since 2018. But, he has struggled to get into the first team, having only registered one appearance for the Hoops. He’s eligible to represent the US and Scotland, so he finds himself under the beady, watchful eye of Gregg Berhalter
. He will understandably be desperate for some playing time at the senior level.
The hive mind over at Reddit has determined that his debut for Celtic wasn’t particularly good, so a move might be sounding more tempting to all parties. Struber’s high-intensity brand of Gegenpressing would be a demanding, yet rewarding opportunity for the winger.
Feasibility rating: 4/5
5. Alan Velasco, FW – Independiente (Argentina):
He’s only 18. He’s fresh off scoring a brace against Copa Libertadores semi-finalists River Plate, and he plays for a cash-strapped club in a cash-strapped country. Independiente were the club who let Ezequiel Barco leave for Atlanta United for fifteen million dollars. It would seem that the immediacy of economic strife outweighs any long-term plans they might be making. Velasco will be bound for Europe eventually, but in the meantime would make quite a splash in North America.
He’s dynamic, creative, and a genuine goal threat off the wing. Velasco could benefit greatly from Struber’s high-press. Then, he can be presented with chance after chance in advanced areas. There’s an undeniable youth movement at RBNY, with the likes of Omir Fernandez, Cristian Casseres, and Caden Clark all poised for breakout years. Velasco could very well be the missing piece of the puzzle, a magician with enough verve and flair to come up big when it really counts: the playoffs.
Feasibility Rating: 2/5