The rumor mill is fickle and perplexing. For months, it has thrown high-profile names at the New York Red Bulls with scant regard for the team's apparent tactical needs or capacity to add to its current squad. The roster appeared to be full, but the rumors flowed regardless.
Now, RBNY has finally resolved whatever issues it had with Peguy Luyindula and the roster is definitively not full. The Red Bulls have space for another signing. And the team's recent league form is lackluster. Conditions are seemingly perfect for the rumors to proliferate with renewed vigor. But instead of giving, the rumor mill seems focused on taking away.
In recent months, three of the more persistent rumors attached to RBNY have concerned high-profile Ghanaian internationals. In recent weeks, each has apparently been quashed.
First, the most credible of the bunch - the suggestion Kevin-Prince Boateng might find his way to Harrison - was knocked back by an extremely knowledgeable source: Red Bulls' head coach Jesse Marsch. And the most recent reports on Boateng's future suggest he may be landing with Turkish giant Galatasaray.
The notion Michael Essien might be a Red Bull in the near future never gained a great deal of traction, and it has subsequently been overwhelmed by confident reports out of Greece suggesting he is on the verge of signing with Panathinaikos (an opinion the player himself appears to support).
The last of RBNY's trio of big-name, Ghanaian, alleged transfer targets is Sulley Muntari. Just a few days ago, he was rejecting offers from Swiss clubs, diligently keeping the whispers linking him to MLS (and maybe the Red Bulls) alive.
Alas, even that fanciful gossip appears destined to be shut down in the near future. The rumor mill is insistently linking Muntari to Everton - although Goal.com's suggestion that the Liverpool Echo has reported talks are "near fruition" seems to be overstating the enthusiasm of the paper's rumor round-up column.
Indeed, it is hard to detect any great excitement in the blue half of Liverpool for Muntari's arrival. Evertonpodcast.com describes him as a player with "a hot head and slow feet" and "hardly an inspiring signing." Hereisthecity.com suggests the rumor is one "Everton will hope does not come true." The Liverpool Echo offers little beyond a lukewarm attempt at optimism: "despite being 30, he could give Everton's midfield extra energy."
Perhaps Muntari isn't a great fit for Everton, but such considerations aren't always a priority of transfer talk. There wasn't an obvious requirement for Muntari's services when the rumor mill first connected him to RBNY, though he is the sort of adaptable, attack-minded player that might conceivably be of interest to Jesse Marsch.
But the rumor mill appears to have lost interest in trying to sell us on the idea of a once-great Ghanaian joining the Red Bulls this season. Unless it is true that Lloyd Sam's form in MLS is sufficient to catch the eye of head coach Avram Grant, it seems increasingly clear that there won't be any Ghana national team players - past or present - suiting up for RBNY this season.