It wasn't the craziest off-season for the Red Bulls.
Usually, a few names will crop up in connection with the team, with varying levels of legitimacy. This winter, we had the long shot that was Xavi and the Miguel Ibarra drama, but aside from that, there wasn't much.
And now that the European transfer window is shut, you'd think the rumors will die down a bit. You would be wrong.
Rumors that Ashley Cole, the aging Chelsea left back and England international, was being tempted by the Red Bulls via Thierry Henry, who, again, is talking up his experience in MLS and in New York.
A 30-something-year-old who's almost out of contract and kind-of, sort-of on the outs with his big-name European club? Yeah, that sounds like the kind of player who would be connected to the Red Bulls.
But if there's one thing lending this rumor some credibility, it's Jose Mourinho's pissy response to questions about Cole's future with the team. From NBC's Pro Soccer Talk blog, sourced from the Telegraph...
"You have to ask Thierry Henry," Mourinho said. "You are speaking about Thierry Henry, so speak with Thierry Henry. Maybe Thierry is doing with Red Bulls the same as David Beckham is doing in Miami. Maybe he's buying Red Bulls. Yes, Cole has (got a future at Chelsea), but maybe Thierry has a better proposal."
For what it's worth, the quote in the Telegraph article is a bit different, but the jist is the same.
(Also, I could get behind Henry owning the team. Just saying.)
Anyway, the Guardian is reporting that (as expected) Chelsea are offering Cole a one-year extension, one that Mourinho isn't sure Cole will take. Despite, only making a few appearances this season, his coach still likes him. He's also still taking shots at Henry...
"I like the player, I trust the player, I want him to stay," said Mourinho. "The club is happy with that, so we don't have a problem but [his decision] is another story that I cannot control. It's another part of the story that doesn't depend on us. Yes, he has [a future here] but maybe Thierry has a better proposal in New York."
Of course this is Wright-Phillips' stated desire, so it's not so much as a rumor, but a player who wants to come over.
On that rumor, Mike Petke apparently hasn't heard much from Wright-Phillips' (that's Shaun, not Bradley) camp. He told Big Apple Soccer...
"I did read an article over the last couple of days stating that Shaun-Wright Phillips potentially being interesting in MLS," Petke said during a conference call with the Red Bulls media on Thursday night. "I had no clue in any statement made about him wanting to play for us or with his brother. Nothing has come across my personal desk as far as potentially signing like him.
"It is a testament to the league, [Jermaine] Defoe, [Clint] Dempsey last year, Michael Bradley, an attractive destination for big-time European players or returning international players still in their prime. It doesn't surprise me, but there have been no talks with me about anything like that at all. Nothing ... at this point."
Yeah, the Red Bulls' wanted to find help on the wings, but they've likely found it in Bobby Convey, who will compete with Jonny Steele on the left. On the right, they have both Eric Alexander and Lloyd Sam. All four are younger than the elder Wright-Phillips, a 32-year-old, who now plies his trade in the Championship.
So, yeah, he fits the bill perfectly.