Let's ignore, for a minute, that the Red Bulls just pulled off a third consecutive 1-0 win last night against the Houston Dynamo with a hodgepodge line-up that's looking more and more like they've got some real players. Also, ignore a report from two weeks ago that Erik Soler had whittled down his designated player choices to just one player and a report from this week that suggested the Soler would sign depth, not flash this summer.
Just, for the time being, put those out of your head. Because in the bizarre alternate universe the agents of aging European stars inhabit, the Red Bulls have been allotted roughly 10 extra designated player slots and are about to sign Emmanuel Adebayor, Alessandro Nesta and Gianluca Zambrotta.
First, let's tackle Nesta, because, if anything, the rumors about him might at least have some grain of truth to them. But probably not.
This morning, he announced he was leaving AC Milan, the club he spent a decade with, and has an eye toward MLS, which really means "New York" or "Los Angeles." The same day Soler got cold feet about bringing in a new DP versus adding depth (link above), Nesta, Zambrotta and the Red Bulls supposedly met to discuss their mutual interest in each other.
As for Adebayor, the London Evening Standard reports that if Soler can finagle a deal with Manchester City, the striker will be in New York, which, makes perfect sense, I guess, especially since the Red Bulls will totally pay a guy £70,000 a week, which is Tottenham Hotspur's wage ceiling. Adebayor got £105,000 a week this year from City.
This is the kind of thing that happens every transfer season, a delicate game agents play pitting team against team, even if there is no real interest. Of course, teams are keen to this game, but with MLS collectively raising its level of play, and the amount of money its willing to spend, agents now have an additional "out" in a league that need star power, but isn't quite the "retirement league" it was (evidenced by Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry's loans this winter). In a way, its the perfect way for an aging superstar to "go out on his shield," even if the level of play is better than many expect. When agents use MLS -- the Red Bulls and LA Galaxy, primarily -- as pawns they have to do heir clients a disservice. Not everyone can be that ignorant of MLSonomics...can they?
At any rate, it kind of makes you feel like the prettiest girl at the dance.
So, let's make a list and see how ridiculous it can get by the time the transfer silly season kicks off in earnest in June.
-Alessandro Nesta, AC Milan
-Gianluca Zambrotta, AC Milan
-Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham Hotspur