Diego Forlan himself has said he doesn't have any offers from MLS, and you might think that would settle the matter, but the rumor mill doesn't take orders from anyone. Once A Metro received word that the notion of Forlan moving to MLS - and specifically the New York Red Bulls - is still alive and well in Uruguay.
@Once_A_Metro https://t.co/iMrgrZPTnE— LGM (@mandjets) July 18, 2016
Clubs don't have a lot to gain by responding to rumors. Start to deny them and all you do is highlight the ones that are true. Still, every once in a while a team will decide enough is enough. Perhaps that is why Kristian Dyer has reported for Metro that RBNY is not in hunt for Forlan, nor has it ever been.
Dyer's report holds a curiously emphatic denial of a rumor that never really seemed to be gaining much traction - he cites not one but "multiple" league sources. Even before Forlan took a moment to deny any contact with MLS, the most persistent gossip about his next move was in relation to a rumored opportunity to play for Atletico Kolkata in Indian Super League.
The Metro article is perhaps more interesting to RBNY fans for what it has to say about the club's current transfer policy: Forlan doesn't fit the "model for future acquisitions". Thank you, anonymous sources.
The rumor mill likes to link RBNY to just about any star player in need of a new contract. In recent weeks, we've heard suggestion that Antonio Di Natale (38 years old), Miroslav Klose (also 38), Oscar Cardozo (33), and Mario Gomez (31) have been on the club's shopping list. This is difficult to reconcile with the understanding that RBNY currently operates under the RalfBall template that guides Red Bull Global Soccer. New signings are mostly expected to be at an age where their best years - or greatest transfer value - is still ahead of them. Diego Forlan is 37. A star of the world's game, but 37 nonetheless.
RBNY has signed older players in its RalfBall era - Shaun Wright-Phillips (34) and Aurelien Collin (30), for example. They were perhaps exceptions. There may yet be further exceptions. But it is interesting to hear the club re-assert its commitment to a plan (which we assume to be the same plan that was more or less described in the first few months of Ali Curtis' tenure as Sporting Director).
Dyer's sources go on to say that RBNY is (still) actively seeking attacking help. Reportedly, the club chasing several players, including a wide man and someone to play up top. And there is talk of a Designated Player - which is often interpreted as code for a player of Forlan's stature, but can equally mean a lesser-known talent like Gonzalo Veron - possibly being added to the squad.
A double-bluff? Unlikely. RBNY has been seen to deny reports and rumors that turned out to be true in the past, but the denial is rarely quite so emphatic. When the rumor mill wouldn't shut up about Junior Flemmings making a move to the Red Bulls, Jesse Marsch confirmed the interest but told reporters "he hasn't been signed yet".
That wasn't so much a denial as a simple statement of fact: Flemmings had not been signed. Yet. But in the end, he joined RBNY for pre-season work and signed a professional contract (for NYRB II, the Red Bulls' reserve team) - pretty much as had been suggested all along.
So the Red Bulls aren't looking at Forlan. Quite probably aren't looking at any of the bigger, older names associated with the club by the rumor mill in recent weeks. But they are looking.
And what of Forlan? Undeterred by Metro's report, Marca has suggested the player has cooled on the idea of playing in India. His main options, Marca suggests - citing a report from Ovacion, though the news is available elsewhere - are RBNY and unspecified clubs in Qatar.
Well, if India is no longer an option and RBNY has just pulled its name out of the mix: enjoy your time in Qatar, Diego.