On Saturday, July 1, Kristian Dyer - as well-connected a reporter on the New York Red Bulls beat as you will find - suggested Brandon Allen was edging closer to the exit at RBNY.
Hearing rumblings of Brandon Allen going out on a loan. Minnesota a possible destination; they showed interest in preseason. #RBNY #Loons— Kristian Dyer (@KristianRDyer) July 2, 2017
On Sunday, July 2, FiftyFive.One's Wes Burdine found confirmation of Dyer's story from the Minnesota United side of the hypothetical deal.
Confirmed @KristianRDyer earlier tweet w/ a source: #MNUFC are interested in signing Red Bulls Brandon Allen on loan https://t.co/yTwsOgzvEu— Wes Burdine (@MnNiceFC) July 2, 2017
In his report, Burdine notes "a deal does not seem imminent for Allen". Rather, it is merely possible: Minnesota wants attacking depth for the second half of the season and Allen is an option the team is considering.
Both Burdine and Dyer agree (at least, their sources do) that any move would be a loan. Per Burdine, it would potentially be a loan to the end of 2017.
For RBNY fans, this news mostly confirms what was already implicit in Allen's conspicuous lack of first-team playing time (he has played seven minutes in MLS since signing with the Red Bulls in 2015): the forward is not part of the Red Bulls' plans for this season.
Nor is Anatole Abang (on loan to nowhere), or Fredrik Gulbrandsen (loaned in from Salzburg in March and returned to Austria by June), or Mike Grella (out for the rest of the season with injury). The Red Bulls are known to be in the market for summer signings that include at least one attacking player. Arguably, the team hasn't needed attacking depth as much as it does now since the club's contentious regime change in 2015.
Scoring options haven't appeared to be so thin at any other point in Jesse Marsch's tenure as head coach, barring the 2015 off-season when he and Ali Curtis were reorienting a squad built to support Thierry Henry to one capable of working to the tenets of RalfBall. Currently, Marsch's Plan B attacking alternates are Gonzalo Veron and Derrick Etienne: two players he seems to regard with a roughly equal lack of confidence, judging by their inconsistent playing time.
Either or both of those players might yet come good, but the squad - once seemingly overflowing with attacking talent - seems a little thin up top. This is a team, after all, that would like to believe it is starting four legitimate scoring threats for every game.
To date, the Red Bulls' transfer market moves in 2017 have ranged from unsuccessful (Gulbrandsen) to unfulfilled. Whatever the long-term objective behind the team's bold decision to trade away midfield lynch-pin and club captain Dax McCarty, one would assume RBNY didn't make the move for the purpose of a quick exit from CONCACAF Champions League, a middling first-half of the MLS regular season, and a couple of lucky wins in the early rounds of US Open Cup.
The Red Bulls know they need a boost. The apparent willingness to let Brandon Allen go if there is a club that will take him would suggest that one of the few untested options within the current first team squad is not going to be given a chance to see if he can cure what's ailing RBNY.
Jesse Marsch has been working with Allen for about 18 months now; RBNY urgently needs attacking options; the Red Bulls are apparently open to offers for one of the few such options they have signed to a first-team contract. Allen isn't on the outs at RBNY because he never really seemed to have made his way in to Marsch's circle of trust for MLS minutes. But the Red Bulls' success in 2017 would seem now to hinge on one of two options: either the trusted players in the squad collectively find form, or the summer transfer window brings a transformative new signing.