The idea that Dani Osvaldo might be on his way to the New York Red Bulls wasn't around for long: Ole.com reported it on May 22, the report got some attention from a number of outlets - including this one - and the news broke early enough in the day that the team's beat reporters could ask Jesse Marsch about it as part of the end-of-week media routine. He slapped it down.
Marsch addresses Osvaldo rumor, denies any link to #RBNY— Eric Giacometti (@Eric_Giacometti) May 22, 2015
Marsch appears to be enjoying the challenge of snubbing the rumor mill's constant attention, trying out new methods of swatting away transfer gossip with increasing variety.
We've had straight talk - "isn't happening" in response to a question about Kevin-Prince Boateng - and half-denials (he effectively said RBNY was looking at Abdul Aziz Yusif, just not interesting in getting him in to the club for any sort of trial..."yet"), as well as the more standard, might-be-evasive no comment ("We're not going [to] comment on any speculation at this point", in response to inquiries about James McClean).
Today, facing queries about Osvaldo, Marsch essayed another approach: playing dumb.
Who is that?
Wait...really, Jesse? You make your living in professional soccer. You probably watch more games in a week than most fans do in month. You've never heard of Dani Osvaldo?
In fairness, as described by Kristian Dyer at Big Apple Soccer, Marsch may simply have been reacting to a vaguely worded initial question - asking "who is that?" more in the sense of "which one are you talking about this time?", rather than "who is this Osvaldo character?".
Nonetheless, intentional or feigned, the coach offered his initial reaction as the proof of his subsequent more-traditional denial:
There's nothing to comment on. The fact that I didn't know the player I think should be telling.
Not Jesse's best transfer rumor knockdown, but at least he's trying to have some fun with the call-and-response game that is the rumor mill's silly season.
We look forward to the next routine in Marsch's evolving portfolio of rumor-swatting techniques.
And we can also look forward to seeing whether Marsch is able to improve upon what might be the shortest rumor life cycle of RBNY's season to date. The Ole.com report was noticed by the Red Bulls blogosphere relatively early on the morning of May 22: Empire Of Soccer and Once A Metro published reports within about six minutes of each other (around 10:30 am).
By 12:42 pm, scarcely two hours after the Osvaldo rumor had seeped into the local coverage of RBNY, Jesse's denial was out in the open. (Maybe even earlier: Eric Giacometti's tweet above is merely the first report of Marsch's comments that this author spotted.)
Quick work, Jesse. You flubbed the joke (you can't claim "the fact I didn't know about the player should be telling" when you literally just told everyone you did know about the player; still, we get what you were trying to do, and it's great to see a coach having some fun with the rumor mill), but we'll chalk that down to the unusually short time allowed to craft a response.
On the to the next one, and what we hope will be yet another illustration of the variety of ways Jesse Marsch can think of to say "no" (or, at least in the case of James McClean, "no comment").