Monday, January 31, 2011

Red Bulls News and Notes: Euro Transfer Madness Edition

If you're a hardcore soccer fan, it can tough to concentrate on anything but the sport on a day like today.  You might try to step away from the computer for a few moments and focus on work or family matters, but inevitably you come drifting back to Twitter or the big football news sites to get the latest rumors.

Sometimes transfer deadlines go by with a whimper, but not this time around. With big names and monetary figures flying all over the place it was sometimes hard to keep things straight. In the end, Liverpool sold one of the world game's true superstars to Chelsea for the amazing sum of £50m, while bringing in a big name striker of their own for a pretty staggering price. Other deals might not have materialized, but it was hard to deny the sheer thrill of it all, with ludicrous rumors about helicopters and private jets making the rounds. If MLS ever gets to the point where a similar degree of lunacy surrounds the passing of a transfer deadline, you'll know that the sport of soccer has truly arrived in North America (don't hold your breath).

Until then, fans on this side of the pond will have to content themselves with smaller, less earth-shattering deals, even as they look longingly across the Atlantic. Interspersed among all the European transfer news were a few interesting items that Red Bulls fans might want to note:
  • As reported yesterday, RBNY has in fact added defender Sacir Hot as its fourth ever homegrown signing. Hot is projected as a bench player for the time being, but you never know. If Tim Ream continues to impress and begins to attract interest from Europe, the Red Bulls should still have some depth and youth at the back, between Hot and draftee Tyler Lassiter. It's also great to see a young player - and former RBNY ballboy - so enthusiastic about joining his hometown club. Someone once told me that, "nobody dreams of becoming a Red Bull." That person was full of bunk.
  • Contrary to rumors, striker Salou Ibrahim (pictured above) has no plans to seek out trials in Europe, and is in fact committed to staying with RBNY for 2011. One thing I will say for Ibrahim is that he is a one-of-a-kind player for the club and the only remaining big body/battering ram we have up front. There were times last year when he looked horrible and other times when he showed what a handful he can be for defenders. If he can stay healthy he might be a useful squad member, but that's a big "if." 
  • Erik Solér and Hans Backe still hope to add two players to the squad before the season begins. The first, a right back to compete with Chris Albright, is expected to arrive within the next week or two, while the other - either a defender or defensive midfielder - could come later. I understand the need for depth at right back, since Albright isn't getting any younger. What I can't understand is why RBNY needs yet another defensive midfielder, rather than someone to push the mediocre Roy Miller at left back. There is also a glut of international players in the squad now. Add another one or two and something's gotta give.
  • As part of its preseason preparations, the Red Bulls will face Rafa Marquez's boyhood club Atlas in a match being dubbed the "Red Bull Reto del Sol (Challenge of the Sun)" in Glendale, Arizona on Tuesday, March 8.
  • Finally, if you need someone to drive a final nail into the coffin of Superliga, Solér's your man. Reporting from practice today, Brian Lewis got the GM's thoughts on the competition and let's just say he wasn't complimentary.
That's it for now. We'll continue to bring you all the latest on the team as they get ready to take off for Mexico in a few days time (weather permitting).
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