On Tuesday, as the NBA trade deadline began to envelope American sports headlines, rumblings of a New York Red Bulls transfer swirled. NYRB are apparently in on 18-year-old Danish forward Mathias Jorgensen of Odense BK in the Danish league, with Chris Armas confirming interest on Thursday.
Jorgensen has experience with Denmark’s youth national teams and has made appearances in 13 of Odense’s 20 games this season, though he fell out favor as the Danish league hit their long winter break, which ends this weekend. It’s hard to predict whether he would step into the first team immediately or gain minutes at Red Bulls II as Bradley Wright-Phillips monopolizes striker minutes.
If the deal goes through, Jorgensen would likely compete with 22-year-old Anatole Abang, who is back from various European loans after appearing 25 times in 2015 and 2016 at the MLS level, to back up BWP. Abang’s arrest last month for marijuana possession throws a wrench into that proposition, though.
The Red Bulls’ Offseason So Far
The big-money transfer of Tyler Adams to Red Bull Leipzig (where he is thriving!) remains the biggest winter move for NYRB. As Armas spends his first off-season implementing his managerial principles, NYRB are putting the pieces in place to stay near or at the top of the Eastern Conference. Kaku, around whom rumors perpetually abound, appears to be staying after fierce Club America rumors and some wild messaging from his agent.
The Red Bulls fortified defensive depth by trading a fourth-round SuperDraft pick (essentially pennies) to Orlando for Amro Tarek. They had declined veteran center back Aurelien Collin’s option, and the situation with Fidel Escobar (whose loan from a Panamanian club has expired) is uncertain. Promising center back Hassan Ndam was selected by FC Cincinnati in the expansion draft.
Waiver draft speedster Marcus Epps will arrive from Philadelphia, and two Homegrown signings (Jean-Christophe Koffi and Omir Fernandez) round out the Red Bulls’ transactions. In training camp, they hope that 19-year-old Cristian Casseres Jr. can fill the central midfield void left by Adams, or at least display some potential to hold them over.
Who Won the Transfer Window: The Red Bulls or Atlanta United?
This will be the predominant question in the Eastern Conference, given the Red Bulls and Atlanta United were far and away the top-two sides last season. Both promise to remain elite, even as Adams and Miguel Almiron (who went to Newcastle United on a record transfer) depart on huge transfer fees. Atlanta’s signing of Pity Martinez easily bests anything the Red Bulls have done this winter, and new center back Florentin Pogba (brother of Paul Pogba) looks like he could be starting-caliber in MLS, at least.
The Red Bulls won the Supporters’ Shield last year and won’t have to adjust to a new manager, as Atlanta are doing now with the hire of Frank de Boer. Both teams will deal with (and prioritize) the Concacaf Champions League in the early parts of the season, possibly inhibiting MLS form. The Five Stripes project as the better team, though the Red Bulls’ ability to conjure quality young players out of the woodwork prolongs usurpation possibilities.