HANOVER, N.J. — Aaron Long calls a move to the English Premier League “a dream come true.” But that dream, it appears, is going to have to wait a bit longer to be realized for the New York Red Bulls defender.
The Red Bulls turned down an offer from an EPL club, an overture first reported by Brian Dunseth on the Fox Sports broadcast of the Hudson River Derby match between the Red Bulls and New York City FC Sunday night.
A league source told Pro Soccer USA the transfer fee was significantly less than the nearly $5 million initially reported by The Athletic. That was the sum secured for the services of former Red Bulls centerback Matt Miazga by Chelsea. This offer for Long, the source said, “did not go above $3 million.”
On Saturday, Dunseth tweeted the offer was made by West Ham United.
Been told the team that has made multiple bids for Aaron Long is West Ham… Multiple teams from Europe interested as well.
— Brian Dunseth (@BrianDunseth) July 20, 2019
Long, 27, is in the prime of his career, a mainstay on the United States men’s national team and the 2018 MLS Defender of the Year.
“It would be a dream come true to go play in that league,” Long told Pro Soccer USA after training Friday. “But it has nothing to do with me. It’s two clubs, whatever two clubs it is, coming to an agreement, and I don’t really have a say in that matter.”
During the offseason, the Red Bulls signed Long to a multi-year contract that earns him $800,000 in guaranteed compensation, according to the salary guide published by the MLS Players Association, placing him in the top 10 of the highest paid defenders in MLS.
Because of that, Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said he’s not worried about offers from abroad.
“I’m not, only because I know we committed to Aaron in the offseason, …a long-term contract that demonstrated a big, big commitment to Aaron, that honors the work that he’s done and the player and person that he is for the Red Bulls and now the national team,” Armas said Friday. “I know he feels the same way.”
Long said his focus “while I’m here and while I’m signed by the Red Bulls” is squarely on the MLS season.
“If anything happens, I’ll have to change my mindset, but for now I’m just focused on the the next game,” Long said.
This time a year ago, Armas was asked about Tyler Adams’ immediate future with the Red Bulls amid reports he was possibly bound for a midseason move to RB Leipzig. Armas said at the time the plan was for Adams to finish the season with the Red Bulls, and the young midfielder did finish the season before his transfer to the Germany Bundesliga squad became official in December.
Does Armas expect Long to be on his roster through the end of the 2019 season?
“One hundred percent,” Armas said without hesitation. “That’s my expectation.”