The New York Red Bulls haven't made any off-season player acquisitions since December 11, which is when the news broke that Sean Davis had been signed to a homegrown contract and Sal Zizzo had been picked out of the MLS Expansion Draft by NYC FC on RBNY's behalf.
All we've had since then is a lot rumor and speculation: Daniele de Rossi (seems improbable), Steven Gerrard (nope - he's off to LA Galaxy), Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan being the biggest names thus far suggested as potential new recruits for the club. (No, we do not count Emmanuel Adebayor.)
The Altidore rumor took a new twist yesterday: he's going to Toronto FC! Except he's not going to Toronto FC, he going into the MLS allocation process! ESPN's Jeff Carlisle identified one of his sources regarding the report that the league is set on having Altidore go through allocation - a mechanism so frequently ignored recently it too was in danger of being regarded as no better than a rumor - as Toronto's General Manager, Tim Bezbatchenko.
#TFC GM Tim Bezbatchenko to me on Sunday re: Jozy: "It's a league signing, he comes back through the allocation ranking." #MLS— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) January 14, 2015
An authoritative source indeed, now on the record. Altidore allocation antics ahoy! Or maybe not...Carlisle also implied on Twitter that TFC might already know it won't be under meaningful pressure for Jozy's services:
.@WestonFL_John My understanding is the latter.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) January 14, 2015
So we wait to see whether RBNY does indeed make a play for Jozy by trading itself up the allocation order, or if the deal is already done for him to play for Toronto.
Meanwhile, we have received news about the other USMNT player the Red Bulls allegedly covet this off-season, Sacha Kljestan. Last we heard on that front, there were four MLS team chasing after the US international midfielder: Philadelphia Union (reported as "all-in" for Kljestan by anderlecht-online.be), LA Galaxy, RBNY and "unnamed domestic club".
Unnamed might just have been named:
I’m hearing Seattle #Sounders have approached Montreal about moving up in allocation rankings. Seattle could make a play for Sacha Kljestan— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) January 14, 2015
So Seattle is apparently taking the initiative on seizing Kljestan by trying to trade up the allocation order. And by apparently not wanting either Kljestan or Altidore, Montreal Impact would seem to be in the privileged position of being able to give careful consideration to trade offers for something it doesn't want in the first place (first dibs on Kljestan...or Altidore, if that process hasn't already been completed).
It is also worth noting that if the Altidore trade has already passed through allocation, Seattle's approach to Montreal to get Kljestan implies that Jozy's fate is already sealed (and he's therefore most likely a TFC player).
RBNY will surely sign SOMEONE sometime between now and opening day. Indeed, the team pretty much has to sign several players: it's glaringly short on center backs and is arguably a little lightweight at the forward position (where, if Tim Cahill leaves as he continually implies he will, the only starting-caliber specialist is Bradley Wright Phillips).
Kljestan doesn't meet either of those needs. But he is a player - and a good one at that. Good enough that the Sounders are, allegedly, making a last-minute play to gazump the eager pack of clubs that had formed around him.