Red Bulls Paper Revue: August 15, 2022

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Tom Edwards appears to have eyes on restarting his career in England. | Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Tom Edwards looks on the way out, Steven Sserwadda’s profile is rising, and Caden Clark is on the cutting edge of Minnesota fast food in this week’s links

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

Why are we on this planet? What is our purpose? Well, mine is to write this weekly post, and yours is to read it. We’re fulfilling our duties.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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The Red Bull nation waits with bated breath for an update on Tom Edwards. The Stoke Sentinel has some new dirt, with the signs pointing away from New York. In fact, his return should be downgraded from “maybe” to “probably not.”

According to Peter Smith, “Breaking the loan arrangement at this stage would certainly be complicated if not impossible,” as the Red Bulls” “value him highly and hope he will be back.” However, the situation could shift if “there was a permanent offer from elsewhere.” Multiple clubs in England are interested.

What an interesting situation for a player who clearly wants to return to his boyhood club, currently under the stewardship of a manager who appears to want nothing to do with him. However, Edwards is on a long-term contract and may simply have to wait out Michael O’Neill’s tenure, the rare situation in which the subordinate has some measure of control. Whether that purgatory is spent in Major League Soccer, at the Bet365 Stadium, or somewhere else remains to be seen.

Although I heard – and let’s keep this between you and me, dear reader – Edwards allegedly said goodbye to his New York teammates.

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Who knows when Elias Manoel will arrive in New York? The season is dwindling and his loan deal is ever-so-short. However, maybe there is slightly more to the idea that he’ll stick around in MLS.

This is how he said goodbye to the Grêmio supporters. “I just have to thank Grêmio for opening the doors for me in 2018,” posted Elias on social media. “Since I arrived, I lowered my head and worked as hard as I could. I know that often things don’t go as we planned, I always gave my best in training and on the field, but God knows everything. I don’t know how it will be from now on, but I thank you for all the affection and everything I experienced at Grêmio, it’s very special to have been able to wear this shirt, which is too heavy. I will always follow in the crowd.”

I pick up a sense of finality there, a real goodbye, but perhaps I’m reading too far into things. He could be back in Brazil five months from now. A longer-term loan might have been more advantageous for the Red Bulls, but avoiding being tied-down is probably the best course of action. The club could always get him back again.

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We all saw those John Tolkin rumors, linking him to Anderlecht and other nameless entities in Europe.

The Belgian club has enjoyed wild success with Amir Murillo, grabbing the wantaway (and perhaps please-go-away) fullback in December of 2019 and watching him immediately blossom into a star. Anderlecht even considered the Panamanian as proof of concept for the new “data-driven transfer policy” that would guide future scouting, i.e., the usual designs of finding cheap players, which is what everyone wants. Of course, that could also mean that part of the interest in Tolkin is due to the belief that he could be acquired for a lower-than-expected transfer fee, in which case the Purple & White would likely be mistaken.

If I had to guess, one of those French or Portuguese teams is a more probable destination, maybe even a yet-to-be named club. Perhaps Anderlecht chooses to shell out, but I doubt it. This is all speculation, of course.

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When I hear the name Caden Clark, I think of a few things: the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, the Crunchwrap Supreme, and, most importantly, the discontinued Cheesy Potato Burrito.

The on-loan Red Bull starred in a commercial or two for Taco Bell – or, as the cool kids say, “The Bell.” The advertisement appears to be produced by “long-time franchisee Border Foods, which recently opened “one of the most innovative drive-thru experiences yet,” a four-laner in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. The facility features a “two-story model” which looks sort of like those air pressure tubes at the bank.

Anyway, I hope Caden is able to talk to someone about bringing back the original Cheesy Potato Burrito and not the fraudulent current version, as we all know that athletes at his level are constantly chomping down on fast food.

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The best transfer rumors are old transfer rumors.

All the way back in 2019, the Red Bulls had the opportunity to sign Kai Wagner. According to Kristian Dyer, the German wide-player was “offered” to the club. However, Chris Armas “declined the possible move.”

As you’re probably aware, Wagner joined the Philadelphia Union and has been quite good. He’s now linked with a move to Leeds, coached by some guy named Jesse Marsch. Curious that the team from Chester appears to be producing more Red Bull and high-pressing players than New York, but that’s how it goes.

To be fair, I wouldn’t really hold the player identification error against Armas. Coaches are presented with dozens/hundreds/thousands of players and required to make snap decisions. For every one you get right, there are dozens that succeed elsewhere and even more who were correctly turned down.

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One of the most intriguing stories to follow this season is the development of Steven Sserwadda. The 20-year-old Ugandan midfielder moved from the reserves to the first team and q\appears to have that old “Red Bull DNA” that makes him stand out in the vaunted system. Pan-Africa Football produced a wildly comprehensive scouting report, which should be consumed in full.

Sserwadda is praised for his “eagerness to be a pest when the opposition is on the ball in the midfield,” but there is a tendency to “overcomplicate his role at times.” While he “enjoys operating in traffic and tight spaces,” his refusal to play at anything other than “maximum speed can cause issues.” Pan-Africa Football notes an “excellent engine” and “promising signs to succeed as a two-way” player.

Honestly, read the whole thing.

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The European dream has ended for Breiðablik – not with a bang but with a whimper.

Blikar traveled to Turkey for the second leg of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League. The result was a 3-0 loss to İstanbul Başakşehir, ending the series at 6-1 on aggregate. Omar Sowe started the match (which is good), received a yellow card in the 31st minute (less good), and was subbed out at halftime (probably bad).

Breiðablik now turns full focus to the domestic Besta-deild karla and Mjólkurbikarinn competitions.

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If you haven’t waved away those Eli Dasa, you probably can now. The Israeli winger was reportedly in discussions with D.C. United and LA Galaxy, which aren’t the Red Bulls. He is a free agent following a spell at Vitesse.

However, the winner appears to be his former club, Maccabi Tel Aviv, which is negotiating over contract length. The 23-time domestic champions want three years. He wants four. They’ll figure it out or they won’t.

And the world keeps on spinning.

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The mystery is solved! Ashley Fletcher is the player connected to Rotherham United! And he’s not going!

Recently-promoted Championship outfit Wigan Athletic hijacked the deal and brought in the English striker on a season-long loan. There’s probably an option-to-buy, but I don’t care enough to check. What matters is that Fletcher is a Latic, ready to tear up the DW Stadium (named for Arthur’s little sister).

“I want to get back to my best; that comes with game time,” said Fletchy. “I did well at Middlesbrough and then had a move to Watford that hasn’t really worked out. I just want to get back to enjoying my football again and I think the project that Wigan have shown me is brilliant and we can help each other. I’ll give my all; ultimately, it’s about goals for me when I play and I want to get back to enjoying my football, working hard for the team – which is the first and foremost – and helping this club to achieve good things.

I think he could have worked out in New York. I mean, he didn’t, but maybe he could have.

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A different Victor Pálsson arrived in Major League Soccer more than a decade after his original brief tenure. The Icelandic midfielder was in a difficult place in his career, dealing with unspoken struggles that he has since overcome. The 31-year-old spoke with the Washington Post on his Red Bulls days.

“I probably spent more time in the nightclub than on the pitch,” said Pálsson. “Every day was Saturday [night], if I wanted it to be. Soccer was number two; lifestyle was number one. I had a lot of demons inside of me that I just didn’t know how to deal with, so I would use escapes.”

The new D.C. United signing “barely remembers” his time in New York. Pálsson has since rebuilt and grown, culminating with last season at Schalke. He led the club back to the top division, a triumphant return to the Bundesliga.

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Fábio Gomes is all about that second division life. The man loves the Campeonato Brasileiro Série B. Just ask him.

“Série B is difficult,” said Fábio. “I played this competition in 2019 before going to the USA. Série B will never be easy, everyone has their goals, we are here looking for access and even the title. I know the competition well, I know the shortcuts, I hope to match.”

He recently made his debut, playing one minute in a 3-1 loss to Ponte Preta.

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HIF-podden had a very special guest this week, and he’s Markus Holgersson!

The retired defender sat for a two-hour discussion about “football, life, and Helsingborgs. He even discussed playing in New York and some guy named Thierry Henry. Most importantly, Holgersson is getting married soon!

Right now, he’s leading the youth set-up at HIF, but who knows? Maybe he’s the Red Bulls’ coach of the future. I mean, probably not, but maybe!

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Is there anything this guy can’t do?

In addition to the dozens of other post-playing-career ventures, Joel Lindpere also owns a sporting goods company. Teaming with Ragnar Klavan and Arkko Pakkas, the former Red Bull operates 4 Teams OÜ in Tallinn. According to local media, revenue continues to increase, although “last year the board members were not paid,” which is quite in-depth reporting for a story on a local business.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Cicely of Dennis Township.

Based on what I saw, my children were clearly getting their equipment from sporting bads stores.

Thank you, Cicely. I’m sure they were gifted in other fields.

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