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Breakfast Links – January 14th, 2022

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2022 MLS season begins to draw closer and the January transfer window is in full swing, teams in the United States and around the world continue to make moves in an effort to make title runs across different leagues.

Houston Dynamo

With three picks in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, the Dynamo were in a position to make a statement as to the direction the club would be heading with their young core. Identity is an important part of the hire of Paulo Nagamura, something that has been reiterated consistently through the office of the GM since Nagamura’s hiring. With no ‘key’ signings as of the time this article was written, the SuperDraft was the first opportunity for the Dynamo to give fans a glimpse of what’s to come throughout the rest of this offseason. With their fourth overall pick, the team selected Duke Icelandic forward Thor Ulfarsson. The Dynamo moved away from attacking selections with their 32nd and 39th pick, picking midfielder Paulo Lima and defender Arturo Ordoñez.

Nagamura was quick to use his SKC connections with the Dynamo, bringing in former teammate Jimmy Nielsen to join the Dynamo as an assistant coach. Nielsen has spent time at the organizational level as the Director of Professional Development. As the Dynamo solidifies their identity at a managerial level, fans are eager to see the team redefine itself in the identity of the players.

MLS

The Seattle Sounders have found one of their designated players in the form of Albert Rusnak, locking him in the DP spot through the 2023 season with an option for 2024. Rusnak, the 27 year old Slovenian midfielder has spent the last five seasons with Real Salt Lake before embarking to join the Sounders – a side coming off a 2nd place Western Conference finish.

Aaron Long has been cleared from his ruptured achilles that has sidelined him since injuring it on May 16, with reporters being told the American center back is ‘good to go’ for the upcoming USMNT world cup qualifiers.

Around the world

Despite having only ten people on the pitch for almost 65 minutes, Arsenal were able to hold Liverpool to a goalless draw in the first leg of their Carabao cup semi final, keeping the Gunners’ chance at a title appearance alive.

Being one of the many players to be impacted by the Omicron spread, PSG forward Lionel Messi said he is ‘almost recovered’ after contracting the virus in Argentina. Messi shared on Instagram that he has “been training these days to get to 100%, there are some great challenges coming this year.”

The European Champions have been linked to many players this window, with not much materializing 14 days into the January window. The Blues have been rumored to be in pursuit of defender Jules Kounde, continuing the links to Chelsea that began in the summer. Chelsea are in a position to bring in a star defender in a time where it seems they could lose team captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, and scorer of their only goal in the second leg against Tottenham, Antonio Rudiger.