Tim Cahill has a decision to make. He's been ducking questions about his future with the New York Red Bulls since the team's season ended on November 29. But he has also been talking about his "vision" for his career. A lot. Without ever quite revealing what that vision might be.
So far, the closest Cahill has come to describing anything resembling a concrete plan is an interview published on December 22, in which he mentioned he wanted the next contract he signed to be for "two to three years minimum", and that he wasn't ruling out playing for his country beyond January's 2015 Asian Cup, and that he expected to have a decision to announce that would leave people "quietly impressed with what I'm trying to do" in "a month or so".
Perhaps coincidentally, the Asian Cup tournament will end on January 31: about a month or so after December 22.
We also know Cahill has a decision to make because RBNY's new Sporting Director, Ali Curtis, took a moment to say he planned to sit down with the team's best-known player to "get understanding of who he is, what his vision is, and how we're going to move forward."
Those comments were published on December 23, which suggests Curtis may be arriving a little late to Cahill's decision-making. And, unless he is hurrying out to Australia, he may find it difficult to insert himself into the process at all. Perhaps this is why the Sporting Director made a point of noting RBNY's 2013 MVP is still under contract: the Australian ought not to consider himself in a position to unilaterally separate from his current situation (although it is hard to fathom why or how the Red Bulls would stop a want-away player of high profile forcing a move if so desired).
A player with a year left to run on his club contract and a major international tournament to play shouldn't really be spending much time creating speculation about his playing future. If Cahill were 100% committed to his RBNY contract, he would presumably say so and move on to talking about his enthusiasm for Australia's chances in Asian Cup. Instead, he has been notably reluctant to make any statement that could be termed a clear commitment to another year in New York. (In that December 22 interview, he did say he had a year to run in RBNY, but then moved on to talk about upcoming decisions to be made in the next month.)
And now, as the Socceroos ease into their pre-tournament training camp, Cahill isn't just teasing RBNY fans and the occasional journalist about his plans for his future, he appears to be teasing fans of other clubs as well.
He isn't merely a former Everton player, Cahill is also a fan - so no surprise that he has noticed the team's alarming recent slump: just one win in all competitions for the month of December; two wins in the last 10 games played in the Premier League.
The most recent loss (to Newcastle on December 28) drew Cahill on to Twitter, and provoked almost instant response.
@Tim_Cahill @Everton please come back!!!!!!!!! Il even chip in for the flights #EFC #cahilllegend— Lee Gibson (@LeeGibsonLGT) December 28, 2014
Supporters of his other former team, Millwall (plummeting into a relegation battle in the Championship), were also alert to the possibility of snagging the services of a club legend - and they were offering more than travel expenses.
@Tim_Cahill @MillwallFC @Everton @TC4Academy you can shag my missus if you come back to millwall— Chris (@ChrisMFC93) December 28, 2014
Mostly, the requests were modest but hopeful.
@Tim_Cahill please come back in Jan and give the corner flag a good punching pic.twitter.com/HJv9pz2bRh— Nik Corfield (@NikCorfield1) December 28, 2014
@Tim_Cahill @MillwallFC @Everton @TC4Academy pie and mash on me if you come back— Gemo (@Dan_Wall06) December 28, 2014
Some tried to start the process of graduating the moment from post-match fan venting to fully-fledged transfer rumor.
@andrewluck58 Tim Cahill or Chris Wood...— play (@play_dj) December 28, 2014
Others sought to slow the hype train.
Fans wanting Tim Cahill back, get a grip eh?— Simon (@sime1878) December 28, 2014
For his part, Cahill stoked his fans' hopes with a flurry of favorites and a clutch of retweets...
@Tim_Cahill #Legend come home Tim pic.twitter.com/FjBhNhj4Vq— JustABlue (@WeAreEvertonian) December 28, 2014
...before moving on to circulating pictures of his current teammates.
Check out @Tim_Cahill's immense pride in new Socceroo @TerryAntonis - http://t.co/SB4aQVurRx #AC2015 #GoSocceroos pic.twitter.com/7bOtZjquFj— Socceroos (@Socceroos) December 29, 2014
Whatever you're planning, Tim, do us all a favor and stop being coy.
Supporters of at least three clubs that typically don't give a damn about each other would be well served by a clear statement of your intentions. The traditional time for resolutions regarding the coming year is approaching. Perhaps you might use January 1 as the opportunity to let everyone know what to expect of you in 2015?