Rumor season is in full swing, and the New York Red Bulls are in the thick of it. In the last few days, we have heard reports insisting Miroslav Klose is heading to RBNY, one suggesting Bradley Wright-Phillips is thinking about moving to India, and the entertaining notion that bookmaker Paddy Power has been persuaded RBNY is the favorite to sign Chelsea captain John Terry.
Time to make room for one more.
Thanks to Once A Metro commenter TooMuchSoccer for stopping by our post on Zach Carroll's not-quite-gone status with RBNY to advise there is talk of Jermain Defoe being on the New York Red Bulls' summer shopping list.
The talk is entirely generated by CaughtOffside.com, whose exclusive on the subject is so exclusive no other outlet seems to have any interest in touching it.
Attributing the news first to "sources" and subsequently to an "insider", Caught Offside's "EPLGuru" (anonymity has a happy home at CaughtOffside.com) reports RBNY is "keen to bring Jermain Defoe back to Major League Soccer."
NY Red Bulls are considering a move to reunite the frontman with his former Tottenham teammate Robbie Keane.
Your insider is suggesting one of the most ambitious moves of recent MLS history - somewhere in the ballpark of Toronto FC's Altidore-Bradley-Giovinco acquisitions, or LA's ceaseless hoarding of every international-class player who can be persuaded to stop by Carson: a simultaneous (we assume - can't reunite 'em if they're not both in the squad, and neither is a Red Bull at the moment) swoop for two big-name players who would instantly change the identity of the team.
Your insider is also suggesting RBNY is on the hunt for their players at something close to the peak of their current respective values. At 33 (Defoe) and 35 (Keane) respectively, neither player has a long career ahead of them - but they are in the sort of form for their current clubs that suggests they wouldn't simply be allowed to leave at the first sign of interest from another team.
Defoe is under contract with Sunderland until 2018, and his 15 goals in EPL 2015-16 (so far) are a significant part of the reason the Black Cats retain hope of escaping relegation this season. He is also being talked up by his manager, Sam Allardyce, as a potential Euro 2016 pick for the England team.
Keane re-upped his contract with LA last year, and his rate of scoring for the Galaxy does not appear to be slowing down.
Both players are securely under contract and performing about as well as their respective clubs might hope them to do. RBNY would have to pay a premium to execute this alleged fantasy of recreating the Tottenham Hotspur attack of a bygone era. And the Red Bulls would presumably have to dramatically alter their current squad and tactical approach to accommodate Defoe and Keane.
Indeed, the club would have to compromise just about every principle of its Ralfball tactical and transfer policy template - the plan that put the team's front office at war with its own fans for a few months last year and delivered a league title, thereby becoming one of the most controversial and successful decisions RBNY has ever taken.
All of that and a lot of money out the window to see if there is any of the old magic left in a Defoe-Keane partnership. A partnership that often seemed more attractive on paper than in practice.
Well done, Caught Offside's unnamed sources. This is easily the least-credible RBNY rumor of the current season. And that is almost as improbable an achievement as this hypothetical transfer would be if it happened.