Why the “Ashley Cole to Red Bulls” story is just silly

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The latest bit of poppycock to wash ashore from the roiling sea of British tabloid journalism is a piece that says, no kidding here: “Ashley Cole is weighing up a move to the United States – with New York Red Bulls leading the race for his signature.”

The report also says “the LA Galaxy are also keen to sign Cole.” Of course it does; how could any self-respecting football reporter in England write about a move to MLS without pinpointing the Galaxy as a primary landing point – never mind that Los Angeles has no room for another Designated Player. I mean, details, details.

So, what we have here (most likely) is another smarmy agent who leaked another bogus story to another compliant journalist who was happy to generate a headline hit in a competitive market for these things.

These stories don’t just serve to feed the hunger for gossipy tidbits abroad; they also play neatly into the narrative abroad that our domestic soccer scene is full of supporters and officials lining up for aging Englishmen approaching the winter of their playing days. ‘Cuz, ya know … it’s MLS.

(Unfortunately, that does remain true in some MLS quarters, although the instances are mercifully dwindling.)

I am not saying there is no chance Cole lands in MLS. But here’s the thing:

I would not believe that is exactly “weighing” offers so much as “hoping” for them. Big ones, I’m sure, with lots of commas and zeroes.

But MLS does have plenty of smart men, and most of them know that fullbacks (even one with 106 England caps) aren’t going to command Designated Player dollars. That’s just not good economics in the league.

And we are talking about a guy about to turn 33 years old. A playmaker or a shrewd striker about to turn 33? Yeah, we get some of those in MLS.

A fullback, now out of favor at his current club address (Chelsea)? Not so much.