A closer look at the Aaron Long-Liverpool link, and why it makes plenty of sense

A closer look at the Aaron Long-Liverpool link, and why it makes plenty of sense

Americans Abroad

A closer look at the Aaron Long-Liverpool link, and why it makes plenty of sense

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Aaron Long has been on the radar of English Premier League clubs for two years, but a new team has emerged as a potential destination for the New York Red Bulls defender.

English Premier League champion Liverpool has been linked to a potential loan move for the U.S. Men’s National Team defender, according to multiple reports that emerged on Friday.

Sources tell SBI that three Premier League teams have expressed interested in trying to secure Long’s services on a loan for the rest of the English season, though it is far from a sure bet that a deal will be done in time to be finalized before the close of the current transfer window.

A long-time target of West Ham United, Long has been on the radar of English teams since his breakout 2018 MLS season, that saw him win MLS Defender of the Year. The price tag played on him by the Red Bulls has kept a transfer to England from taking place, but with a potential work stoppage looming that could delay the 2021 MLS season even more than the current scheduled start date in April, the Red Bulls could be tempted to send Long on loan in order to not only save on salary, but also potentially boost his transfer value.

Now 28, Long has established himself as a regular starter for the USMNT, and his defensive qualities could make him an ideal candidate for teams searching for defensive cover.

The Liverpool link came as a surprise when it emerged on Friday, but Long makes sense as an option for the English champions for a variety of reasons. Liverpool’s centerback stable has been beset by injuries, and finding suitable depth replacements at a discount isn’t exactly an easy proposition. Long is strong, athletic, experienced, qualifies for a UK work permit, and would not require a loan fee, making him a potential bargain addition who could actually be a capable fill-in when called upon.

Liverpool also has established connections with the Red Bull global network, having secured the acquisitions of Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino. In fact, Minamino impressed Liverpool when he played well against the Reds in UEFA Champions League while with Red Bull Salzburg, who was managed by American Jesse Marsch. It was Marsch who helped convert Long from a free agent midfielder to a USMNT centerback, and Marsch would surely give Jurgen Klopp a good recommendation of his former player.

Also working in Long’s favor for a loan move is the fact MLS teams are clearly looking for opportunities to send players on short-term loans this year. Jordan Morris and David Accam having secured loans already, and Paul Arriola another player linked to a potential move. Long won’t be short on options as the window winds to a close, and if reports are accurate, he just might find himself on one of the biggest teams in the world.

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