One of the more surprising claims generated by the current cycle of the rumor mill was the Ghanaian press's conviction that 23-year-old forward Abdul Aziz Yusif would join the New York Red Bulls on trial this week. As in this week: the one starting May 11.
Yusif is out of contract, as a great many subjects of rumor mill speculation tend to be, but he is not a high-profile name of the order of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ronaldinho, or even James McClean - all recently rumored to be RBNY transfer targets.
Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that the Yusif-to-RBNY (on trial) rumor was still being perpetuated by parts of the Ghanaian blogosphere around the same time it had apparently been soundly quashed by a single Tweet from the New York Post's Brian Lewis.
Why is the rumor so persistent? Big Apple Soccer's Kristian Dyer got the answer from Jesse Marsch:
"The kid Aziz we know of but – we're familiar with him and we've looked at him but there's but no discussion about him coming here yet."
"Yet." He was - and might still be - on the team's radar.
This the second time in the past few days that Mr. Dyer has unearthed evidence of activity within the RBNY scouting department. The Red Bulls haven't made a move in the transfer market since March 27 (when Anthony Wallace was signed), unless you count the flurry of signings to the USL team - and it should be noted that a 23-year-old forward would not be out of place on NYRB II.
And it would appear that Yusif is not destined to be arriving at RBNY. Yet.
If you're interested in what may have got the team's attention, his highlight reel suggests a quick, determined player who is pretty good in the air.
He's not going to be turning up for training this week. And he may never: he is in general need of a club, not specific need of RBNY. But add Yusif to the recent, apparently not-without-merit rumor concerning Kevin-Prince Boateng, and one is afforded a glimpse of the sort of player the Red Bulls might be thinking about adding to the MLS squad: under-30, attack-minded, and Ghanaian.
(Well, there's James McClean to consider, also - and he only meets two of those three criteria)