Remember mid-January 2013 in Red Bull land? It was a wild and crazy time, overflowing with RBNY information and speculation. So much so that just one article from that period by Empire of Soccer's emperor, Dave Martinez, functions as a sort of time capsule.
The team was between getting jilted by Claudio Reyna (now working in the Bronx, sources suggest) and Paulo Sousa for assistant and head coaching gigs respectively. The Backe-Soler era had just ended, leaving a logjam of transfer rumors behind: the EoS post lists Kaka, Nigel Reo-Coker, Pascal Chimbonda, Anibal Carvallo, and Fernando Cavenaghi as players linked to the New York Red Bulls at the time.
And the article concludes on a sad note: Thierry Henry telling ESPN he was giving himself another two years as a player, to end his career at the 20-year mark - which is what he did. He told us his plan in January 2013 and we simply chose not to listen.
And now we look to the future.
None of the players discussed in that EoS article did end up at RBNY, though we know Kaka got pretty close to moving to Harrison. Two of the five players mentioned eventually landed in MLS: Kaka and Reo-Coker. Now the rumor mill would like you to believe that a third name from that list may be pondering a move to the league: Fernando Cavenaghi.
Back in January 2013, Cavenaghi was reportedly looking to leave Spanish club Villareal. The gist of the rumor circulating at the time was a link to RBNY appeared to via the encouragement of Juninho Pernambucano (then a Red Bull).
It turned out to be half true: Cavenaghi did move to North America, but to Liga MX, not MLS. His stint with Pachuca was over before the end of 2013, and the Argentine striker opted for a third spell at River Plate, where he has been playing since early 2014.
Cavenaghi is among the all-time leading goalscorers for the Argentine club. He was a substitute in both legs of the 2014 Copasudamericana, which River Plate won by beating Colombia's Atletico Nacional - while a former favorite of both RBNY and Los Millonarios, Juan Pablo Angel, watched from the opposition bench (alongside former RBNY coach, Juan Carlos Osorio).
But Cavenaghi's contract in Argentina is up this summer, and Paladar Millonario is reporting the 31-year-old is considering a year or two in MLS. HITC Sport picks that rumor up, looks at the rosters of the various MLS teams, and concludes Cavenaghi might be a fit at Montreal Impact, D.C. United, or RBNY.
Sure. It might happen. The Red Bulls could use another forward, though if Bradley Wright-Phillips holds form and fitness, it's hard to understand why RBNY would throw cash at a player of Cavenaghi's reputation to be a back-up.
Also, Cavenaghi is a popular and influential player at River Plate. If he left in June, he'd be walking out on the club halfway through its season. MDZ Online reports both that the club has said it wants to retain his services and the player has said he has no offer from MLS and is looking for a league - per Google Translate - "without such pressure" as he has in Argentina.
Careful, Fernando - that kind of talk won't make you popular over here.
The situation is moving fairly quickly in Argentina: a couple of days ago, Cavenaghi sounded as though he was thinking more about retirement than moving on.
The MLS comments appear to have entered the story in the context of Cavenaghi, who has reportedly slipped down the depth chart at River Plate recently, essentially saying that while he may not have enough to offer his current club, he may be of interest to teams outside Argentina.
Sounds like the sort of things a player says when he wants a contract extension and assurances of more playing time. Still, the last time Cavenaghi was tenuously linked to MLS and RBNY, he did in fact change clubs.
A fresh and unlikely rumor - and it's not even the end of March. Thank you, rumor mill.