Over at r/RBNY, Reddit's home for all things New York Red Bulls, Redditor EnglishHooligan has unearthed the news - published by XtraTime.in - that Bradley Wright-Phillips is "in talks" with the Indian Super League's Kerala Blasters.
On Reddit, rumor-hunter EnglishHooligan isn't really buying it either:
BWP is on over $300,000 which would be well big for ISL. However, I talked to an official at the AIFF and he said that there is nothing concrete but apparently BWP is on their "watchlist" and "preliminary talks" have been held.
Since joining RBNY, BWP has traditionally been a dead-end for transfer rumors. Alleged interest from Bournemouth earlier this year didn't go anywhere; nor was he snapped up after his stellar scoring spree in 2015; nor did the rumor mill have any success trying to shuttle the Red Bulls forward into a new international team - Grenada and Jamaica have not managed to win him over to their cause.
Still, there is every chance that BWP will not retire as a Red Bull. He may move one day. Eventually, one of these rumors could prove to be true.
This one, however, is difficult to get behind, and not just for the reasons outlined by EnglishHooligan.
The Indian Super League has existed for two seasons so far, and those seasons traditionally run from October to December. If BWP were to be leaving RBNY it would be...when exactly? Now - and take an extended vacation until ISL is ready to kick off? Or in October, when MLS is looking toward its own playoffs - a time when BWP might reasonably hope to be somewhat central to RBNY's plans?
Of course, Wright-Phillips is 31, and it is plausible that the Red Bulls might let him go if the right offer came in. And the club is being linked to strikers fairly regularly at the moment (Miroslav Klose being the subject of the most recent and persistent RBNY transfer rumor to raise its head).
There has been movement between ISL and MLS in the past. Most notably, perhaps, the arrival of Stiven Mendoza at NYCFC from Chennaiyin FC (via Corinthians). In that instance, ISL lost one of its best players (Mendoza was the league's MVP and top-scorer in 2015) to MLS. Is it implausible that MLS might now return the favor by sending one of its top players to ISL?
Kerala Blasters is regrouping after a difficult 2015 which saw the club finish bottom of ISL. Off the field, there has been a change in ownership, though superstar cricketer Sachin Tendulkar remains invested in the team. A recent flurry of new signings demonstrated the Blasters' intent to move on from last season, but there is no head coach appointed for next season yet.
And for all the financial clout sport and business in India can undoubtedly summon (another Tendulkar-backed enterprise, Smaaash, has announced plans for a $20 million investment in a project based in the Middle East), it's hard to imagine Kerala being willing to throw down the sort of money BWP might require to be persuaded to abandon his 2016 season with RBNY.
Money is very persuasive, of course. But one suspects it would take more cash than any investor would deem prudent to pry BWP away from the Red Bulls - where he is a respected and successful starter - in favor of the least super team in ISL.